You remember that scene in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear shows up and shows off by flying around Andy’s bedroom? Woody, Andy's other toy, is threatened by Buzz’s abrupt and flashy entrance on the scene, and Woody quickly points out that Buzz wasn’t flying, he was “falling with style.” Woody was right, Buzz couldn’t actually fly, but Woody also quickly found out how difficult it was to convince Buzz or any of the other toys who witnessed Buzz’s acrobatic display otherwise.
Falling with style, I was thinking about that phrase as we fall back into another academic year, and as the season of Fall approaches. How might we apply that phrase, falling with style, to this new school year and season that we are about to embark upon? Falling with style reminds me that even though our lives might be in free fall, and even though we might be falling though on some of our commitments and responsibilities, we can still exercise some intentionality and try to spot and stick our landing.
I was reminded of this idea of spotting and sticking landings as I watched American Gymnast Simone Biles win her sixth national title. She did so by completing what no other gymnast had ever done before, a double double (two flips and two twists) off the balance beam, and a triple double (three flips and two twists) during her floor routine. Watching her in slow motion shows just how much awareness she possesses to be flipping and spinning in the air while still managing to spot and stick her landing.
Talk about redefining falling with style, and while we might not have as much talent as Simone Biles, we can still be inspired to spot and stick our landings as we attempt to fall with style through life. And as people of faith, maybe our theological spin we could put on that phrase is to say, “falling with grace.” I like that more. Because it’s hard to look as stylish as Simone Biles or Buzz Lightyear when we fall, but we can relax into our fall trusting in God’s abundant grace to catch us. Maybe knowing that, we’ll scream and flail a bit less because the gentle embrace of God will receive us and put us back on our feet.