Monday, February 14, 2011


Over the past several weeks, I’ve been exposed to several new words that have really spoken to me. The most recent word was “bounceology” and when I first read it, I wasn’t too sure that it was even a word. So I went to my trusty on-line “Webster’s” and it wasn’t there. Then I went to “Urban Dictionary” (because every word that isn’t a word is usually listed there) and I still couldn’t find it. So I just “Bing’d” it and sure enough, there it was. There were a couple of uses for the word…from “hard dancing” to the “the size of the bounce.” It was the last application of the word that spoke so deeply to me.

Most people would agree that the “bigger you are, the harder the fall”. This can refer to simply tripping and landing on the concrete or a fall from a public position. I can relate to both of the applications personally. I’m not a small man and I’ve suffered physical damage to my body by falling on the ground because of the impact of my weight slamming onto a hard surface. The result was a separated shoulder. I’ve also suffered the public humiliation of falling from a very public position when I was arrested and spent three years in prison for making some very poor decisions. In both situations, when I fell I didn’t bounce back up very quickly…or very high.

But the definition of “bounceology” that I came across the other day has helped me to see that it doesn’t have to be that way. That definition says that “the harder you fall, the bigger the bounce”. I’m a former science teacher and I understand that literally, “bounceology” would be defined as “the study of bounce.” If we examine the study of a bounce, it has 4 parts. Falling, impact, expansion and elevation. The implication in the article was that God has implanted in each of us the ability to bounce back from all things. It went on to apply the four parts to a bounce in an interesting way:

Fall – this is falling, not “failing”. This is where panic sets in and we try to control what is going to happen
Impact – the explosion. This part hurts, but hang on, God has something bigger planned
Restoration – your true identity. You have absorbed the impact (learned from it)
Elevation – being uplifted. That which is against you is now for you.

As I read this short narrative, it struck me that the stages being described weren’t too unlike the stages of grief. In the grieving process, you can’t get to “acceptance” until you’ve gone through the previous four stages. And in a like manner, you can’t get to “elevation” until you’ve gone through the pain of the fall. It’s been almost seven years since my “fall” and it was interesting to see where I am in these stages of “bounce”.

I’d like to be able to say that I’ve been elevated. That it is all behind me and everything is “hunky dory”…but it’s not. Life is not easy. Nor is it what I could define as “normal” for most people. I still have great restriction in my life and a multitude of barriers that most people don’t have. There are still elements of society that are still against me as a result of the choices I made that resulted in my fall.

But I can say that I believe I’m in the “restoration” stage. The panic from the fall and the pain of the impact are behind me. The destruction caused by the explosion that rippled through my family has been put back together for the most part. And the result of the impact and the explosion is that it has revealed my true identity. No more masks to hide behind. No more secrets too embarrassing to conceal. I’ve learned from the choices that I’ve made and the end result is that I will be a better person for it. I’m not sure how long I’ll be in this stage or when I’ll achieve “elevation”.

The parallel between the stages of bounce and of grief have hit very close to home for me in the past month. My sister Deb is currently moving through the stages of grief over the death of her daughter just before Christmas. And my brother Frank and his wife are going through the same grief over the death of a son. I’m sure that like me, they would like to be at the point of complete understanding and acceptance of what happened without going through the pain and frustration of the earlier stages. But life doesn’t work that way. We don’t get to the end of the journey without following the path all the way. What I’ve discovered is that sometimes even the most painful journeys can end up transforming us and enlightening us in ways that never could have occurred without the pain.

"Bounceology" from Jentezen Franklin

Image from "Bing" images