Loose Ends: Still moving forward

dollyviscardi“Still standing — twice,” the mother of an almost-1 year old reported recently. The grandmother inquires regularly as to his latest accomplishments and is used to the mother reporting all sorts of changes that mark his passage from infancy to childhood. She has become accustomed to his continual motion, so suddenly she finds it bewildering to hear that he had stopped moving forward.
“What do you mean?” she asks.
This particular baby had already breezed through rolling over, sitting, crawling, and standing. Locomotion (on two feet) had completely stopped. Yet, both the mother and the grandmother knew that one of these days the baby would suddenly find himself upright (with no one or nothing to lean on), he would step up to the challenge. This temporary stillness reminded me of my own need to take a little break before taking on something challenging.
Thinking about the phrase “still standing” offers a different view. It conveys the tenacity, determination, and endurance used in the struggle of life. Sometimes it’s a physical or mental challenge from which one emerges victorious and the obvious answer to the never-ending inquiry “How are you doing?” There are always some variations on the still-standing theme — still breathing or still kicking.
As most of us move through life, the longer we’re around, the more often we list our daily accomplishments with almost as much pride as the mother of an infant taking first steps. “Still standing” might top the list of those of us who have been sick or handled a family or work crisis. If we reverse that once in a while to saying we are just “standing still” it might explain the sudden sluggishness or lack of forward progress all of us experience once in a while.
The beginning of a new year often starts out like those early months of infancy. Some of us take on so many new challenges that often we put on the skids. There seems to be an intense need to take a little step back and observe.
Oh, we’re still standing, all right — standing still for just a minute.