Once my friend said, “Our life is the most expensive gift we have received”. He was quite right but unfortunately nowadays we forget about this unique gift. More often we spend so much of our precious days earning as much as possible or even while studying we have such a heavy weekend of programmed activity that our time stretches to its limits. We do not only forget about the state of our health, but also forget about our nearest and dearest. We have become victims of our own success. The following question appears: what are we striving for? Why we are so blind with money and success? The answer is quite simple – we do not appreciate our life. Philip Simmons was an Associate Professor of English at Lake Forest College in Illinois. He wrote a remarkable story, in which he depicted not only the importance of our being, but also the inevitability of our death. He tried to emphasize on the process of learning to fall: “When we learn to fall, we learn that only by letting go our grip on all that we ordinarily find most precious – our achievements, our plans, our loved ones, our very selves – can we find, ultimately, the most profound freedom”(Simmons).
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Philip Simmons was only 35 when he found out that he had Lou Gehrig’s disease – a terrible illness that kills its victim in a few years. After discovering his diagnose, his life totally changed. He began to write about death. While writing on such a topic he got aware of the most significant question that people are eager to know: the mankind’s role on Earth. Moreover, he understood all of his possible weaknesses and strength, thus they helped him to liberate. Frankly speaking, a large amount of people who suffer from incurable diseases are becoming disappointed with their lives. Moreover, they do not have an incentive to live anymore; they simply give up fighting for their lives. They become miserable not only because they are sick, but also because they do not have future. However, Philip Simmons, being ill as well, emphasizes, “that in the way of our falling we have the opportunity to express our essential humanity”(Simmons). It means that during our lives we often suffer different falls: the falls into sickness, the loss of the relatives and finally the fall to the end, and all these falls help us disclosure our personal qualities. Moreover, they help to understand ourselves better to peep in our inner world and find there a piece of humanity – an important component of moral well-being. Nevertheless, it is too difficult to understand our inner well-being and to find a harmony with ourselves, thus people simply give up looking for their inner peace.
No doubt, there is a large number of problems in our life that we can hardly solve. They make us feel bad and disappointed. Moreover, they are the obstacles which stop us on our way of dreaming of the future. Some of us try to overcome the difficulties and go on living, while the others stop and never move again. Phillip Simmons gives us a good example of the situation, which could stop him on the way to the north peak of Mount Tripyramid, but actually it did not happen. While he was climbing his legs failed him: “I had already fallen twice, bruising ribs, gashing knees, mashing one elbow to pulp. Standing there looking out over the valley, my legs shook and each breath brought pain”(Simmons). I believe that many of us would return back and never come again, but Philip went on climbing. Despite of his sickness, he was happy to stand on this peak and enjoy the forest wilderness. Furthermore, he was extremely thankful to God for ability to enjoy the life. His willpower and obsession to live made him stronger and more positively disposed to his future.
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In the story “Learning to fall” Philip Simmons said, “When we learn to fall we learn to accept the vulnerability that is our human endowment, the cost of walking upright on the earth”(Simmons). I quite agree with this statement. I think, that vulnerability is one of the key elements of our human life, because we all come under the influence of certain circumstances, thus we are vulnerable to different sickness, lie, and other people around us. It means that our obligation is to accept that vulnerability. Everything that makes us feel disappointed and even miserable makes us stronger. It helps us withstand the problems and continue going on without looking back. Frankly speaking, the human life is unpredictable. There are a lot of oppressive situations as well as joyful ones, thus we should keep balance and accept everything what God has prepared for us. We should learn to fall, because only in such way we could learn how to live and find harmony in yourself. Philip Simmons admits, “If we are falling towards pain and weakness, let us also fall toward sweetness and strength. If we are falling toward death, let us also fall toward life”(Simmons).
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To sum up, our life is a unique gift that we should carefully keep and protect. We should accept all possible troubles on our life path. Moreover, we should learn to fall, because only after losing something we receive more important thing which make us happier. In the Bible we can find a statement which tells that, “we fall so that to rise again later”. Thus, we should not be afraid to fall or lose something, because at the end we will be awarded.