114. The ground is no place to lie on.

Few of us escape this life without the need to learn the lessons taught by being knocked to the ground.

Many things can cause us to lie battered and bruised on the ground: the death of a loved one or the loss of a relationship; the collapse of a business or the disappearance of a job; the anguish of a crushing illness or the cruel disappointment of a failed cure.

Most of us know the experience of hitting the ground.

Some of us live there, broken and wounded for a very long time while others bounce back up and re-enter the flow of life bound and determined to carry on onwards and upwards.

What separates those who remain in the dirt from those who bounce to their feet is The Habit of Getting Back Up.

The Habit of Getting Back Up is deeply ensconced in all those who understand to their very core that the battle for life can only be waged while we’re on our feet.

It is not ability that gets us back up on our feet, it is determination. And determination is that priceless gift we are all born with but that sadly, some of us lose through the years.

They say the test of a person is not gauged by the number of times we hit the ground but rather by the number of times we get back up and The Habit of Getting Back Up is one that teaches us to recognize the difference between a defeat and a setback.

I was reminded of this when I heard the story of the seven-year-old granddaughter of a long-time client.

This young girl has spent more than one third of her life in Boston hospitals. She has defied the experts who told her parents that she would not live beyond the first two years of her life.

The nature of her illness is not germane to this story; her spirit is the story.

She is a veteran of more than eighteen surgeries.

Her little body has been plagued with life threatening infections so many times she now playfully tells her parents, “I’m dying again, let’s go to the hospital.”

At times her legs are so swollen and painful she can’t bear to have her clothing touch her skin.

Her parents have long lost count of the number of times their little girl has had to endure the pain and discomfort of being fed through a tube.

And each time a new situation presents itself our young lady accepts it with the stoicism of a seasoned expert, patiently waits it out and then throw herself headfirst back into her busy life, undeterred.

Her grandmother tells me she has ever heard as much as a whimper of complaint from this young angel.

She is always in a good mood.

She is always upbeat.

She always busies herself planning her future (her most recent pronouncement was that she is going to be a neuroscientist).

And each time she gets knocked to the ground she strengthens her resolve to keep fighting and to never give up.

Her grandmother believes The Habit of Getting Back Up was invented by her granddaughter and that her indomitable spirit has served as the glue that has kept her family together through seven years of panic inducing moments.

An old saying informs us that, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Well folks, she’s here.

Ready yourselves.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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