Human Frailty and Ants in Paradise

I fell this morning. Hard. In a slippery shower.

It hurt. Badly.

I was well taken care of lest you be on the edge of your seat thinking “Oh no! What happened?! Will she be ok? What about her daily blog posts??” Ok – so I know I’m not that valuable but every once in a while one can hope…..

But back to the fall. My son heard my groan and my husband responded. And I kept on saying “I’m sorry” and crying. My human frailty was so complete. So in my face. In those moments I was capable of nothing but lying down and trying to breathe. And I was apologizing – for being human. For hurting and for crying.

Why is it that when we stare our frailty in the face it is so overwhelming?

Yesterday was a day of sunshine and warmth, more summer like than spring. In the evening as I was making dinner I bumped my head on the freezer section of the refrigerator. It hurt. Badly.

I burst into tears and said “Damn” (this is a big deal for me – I don’t swear….) “Why is it when you have such a good day there is always a point where you realize you’re still human. You’re still frail” 

It’s the ants in Paradise syndrome. The knowledge that no matter how idyllic the setting, there is no such thing as perfect. No matter how good it gets here, there will always be something to remind me that this is only a taste of good, only a taste of the best.

So can I embrace this frailty for its reminders that I can’t do it alone and that there’s “better” ahead? Right now my bruised rib, a result of the morning fall, will remind me that I desperately need God and those He’s put by my side on this journey. This journey where human frailty in some remarkable way shows God’s greatness and strength.

I read somewhere that human frailty is raw material for greatness….if so then today is the day!

“God knows I’ve got so many frailties myself, I ought to be able to understand and forgive them in others. But I don’t.” Ava Gardner

18 thoughts on “Human Frailty and Ants in Paradise

    1. Alhamdullilah! Ana kwayissa! Thank you for your concern :( It’s that horror of recognizing when one part of your body hurts, the whole body is affected.


  1. I got food poisoning this week while staying with friends – one night sick and three days in recovery – and it’s been fascinating to me just how many times I have apologised for being sick, almost as if my friends could only love me when I’m healthy and active. I find it helpful, if difficult, to remember that I am loved even as a sick, vomitous, vulnerable, weepy woman. A timely post. Thank you.


    1. Love this comment. So interesting that most of us, when on the side of comfort, would care, comfort, and say “you don’t have to be sorry…” but when it’s us we keep apologizing. The words “I am loved as a sick, vomitous, vulnerable, weepy woman” are so apt – great picture. Thank you for this.


  2. I’ve never looked at it from the point of view you’ve described here, but it’s very true. We’re weak, and we spend so much time and effort pretending we’re invincible, that when something takes us by surprise, we are overwhelmed.


    1. Exactly – It’s interesting that it takes us by surprise. If we owned up to the weakness on a regular basis would it surprise us this much? Thanks so much for coming by Zainab!


  3. Oh, Marilyn, so sorry about your fall! I was reminded of the time I came to Islamabad to help you. Cliff was away and Joel was still quite small, and Annie a toddler. You were in the car waiting to take me somewhere, and I came out the front door and slipped on the wet tile. I lay there with the breath knocked out of me. I had come to help you, and you had to take me to get an xray, and Dad had to come from Sindh to take me back home. Yes, our weakness and frailty. At 83 I’m reminded daily even as I ask myself, “Why can’t I get more done?” God is gracious and good and it’s good to remember to laugh at ourselves. It’s more healing to laugh than to cry!
    Love you, and do be careful to stay on your feet!


    1. I do remember that fall – It was a rainy day in Islamabad winter :( That was so sad for you and I don’t think I was a very good nurse for you. I’m bruised but ok


  4. There’s nothing like an accident to instill a little perspective! I crashed my bicycle a few weeks ago, and have been reminded time and again since then of how small and frail I am in the grand scheme of things. Right now I can’t bike myself to work, nor can I put a shirt on by myself. Yet I’ve also been reminded of how God provides for my every need. He has seen fit to provide me with medical care and an amazing wife to care for me, when I am totally undeserving of it. Even with my frailness (and general clumsiness), He has seen fit to call me His son and give me work to do in His kingdom. If I were Him, I probably would have chosen someone else, but I suppose that’s the sort of God He is. Sending broken people into a broken world. Why would we ever seek to follow anyone else??

    I hope your aches and pains are healing! Be well.


    1. I have held this comment close today – thank you Tim. Despite the initial tears – it’s one of those healthy realizations that it’s grace all the way. Can’t go one step without knowing that. Or in my case can’t take one shower without it. Thinking of you as you heal!


  5. I too kept saying “I’m sorry” when I fell: it is salutary that He can indeed redeem our pain – those of a catholic persuasion talk of “offering it up”, not a bad idea to give it to the Lord who always has a lesson for our best!!


    1. I like the “offering it up” as well Wilma. The “I”m sorry” is an interesting piece to the whole thing isn’t it? I’m grateful for this comment and thinking more on the apology piece….but most of all the redeeming of pain. I said to a friend once ” No pain is wasted” both physical and emotional. I believe it.


  6. Oh no, so sorry Marilyn. But isn’t it amazing how God can redeem our pain for good and for His glory (i.e. your Blog post ;0) If we allow Him… Like ants in paradise …
    Look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.Nobody has to tell it what to do.Proverbs 6:6 MSG


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