When You Fall on Your Face Stand Up with Grace

“Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.”

—Salvador Dali

Today’s story is from Elisabeth Hirsch.

Nerdy. Needy. In my own skin uneasy. My name is Elisabeth. When I was a teen, I was awkward back then. Stumbled on stones. Uneasy in groups. Tongue-tied with cute boys. Even my clothes didn’t look right.

stand up with grace

Dad Phil and Elisabeth in Sundance, Utah, 1988

But here’s the thing. It didn’t make sense. My mom was voted homecoming queen when she was my age. And Dad? Handsome. Confident. Suave. He always knew what to do, what to say. No wonder. My father was a star quarterback when he was my age.

Mom and Dad just didn’t “get me” — especially Dad. For him it had always been easy. Day after day, he soared through life. Touchdown. Score! Whatever Dad did, crowds seemed to roar.

While me? One fumble after another. The world watched me stumble through life. Until it happened. Dad and I went for groceries. Walking into the store, Dad’s foot caught on the rug. Face-first toward the tile floor he plunged, as others looked on.

I was embarrassed for Dad. Things like that had happened to me… too often it seemed. But now, at least, Dad knew just how I felt. People around us gawked. Gasped. I even heard a giggle. What would he do? I thought. Run away, red-faced like me?

stand up with grace

Dad, Phil Stilson

Not quite. Dad lifted himself up. He straightened his bolo tie. I braced myself for the look on his face. And then it appeared — a grin ear-to-ear.

“This store is so great, people are falling over themselves to get in!” It’s true. That’s what my dad stood up and said. Everyone laughed — yes, even me. The spell was broken.

I grabbed Dad’s hand, smile on my face. Into the store we marched — a confident duo of daughter & dad.

Two things I learned that day:

Take life in stride. And, when you fall on your face, stand up with grace.

Remember, life isn’t “perfect” for anyone, even all-stars like Dad.

stand up with grace

Ruby Morris (Elisabeth’s daughter), Phil Stilson, and Elisabeth, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013

Elisabeth Hirsch is a partner and editor at Wayman Publishing. All three of her memoirs (under the pen name E.C. Stilson) have become Amazon best-sellers within the last two years. Since 2011, she’s helped Wayman Publishing raise thousands of dollars for organizations such as Angel Watch, the Pregnancy Resource Center, the American Diabetes Association and Primary Children’s Hospital. When she’s not parenting her four children or writing, Elisabeth is speaking at assemblies and signings, or encouraging families at infant-loss relief groups. Read her work at www.ecwrites.com and www.waymanpublishing.com.

Your Comments

  1. Roseann Dunteman

    Isn’t it interesting how we attribute something like “awkward” to ourselves? Elizabeth, you were beautiful then and you’re beautiful now. Thank you for sharing this touching story. What a great lesson for us all, not to take ourselves too seriously. We only go around once, why not enjoy the ride? Cheers to you and your savvy dad! 🙂

    1. Munir

      We all have our moments, some embarrassing ones and some that make us look grand. Your Dad must be a terrific human being first and then a star.

  2. fishducky

    You’re too hard on yourself. You couldn’t be as beautiful now (inside AND outside) if you weren’t beautiful then. (Tell your dad I think he’s cute!)

  3. Inger

    It may take a little longer for some of us to blossom. I’m sure you were always beautiful, but the confidence came later. And look at you now. I love that last picture of the three of you.

  4. Ruby Kay

    Elisa, I enjoyed reading your article. You were darling then and you have grown up so beautiful, inside and out. I am very proud of who you are!!! Love, Mom

  5. Rachelle Lerner

    I love his response to falling in the store. You certainly are not awkward when you play the violin. Nice picture of the three of you.

  6. Dee Ready

    Dear Elisa, your dad surely did come up with a one-liner that put falling on one’s face in perspective! And you surely learned a lot about being gracious from that. For you, you know, one of the most gracious human beings I know. Peace.


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