We all wish life could be a rose garden, but the reality is that that isn’t the case — bad things happen to good people, and adversity can strike at any moment. And as those who have experienced it know for sure, there is nothing more difficult in this life than when you drop something on the ground.

If it’s happened to you, I don’t need to elaborate any further — you know exactly the kind of pain I’m talking about.

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There’s nothing more natural in this life than holding an object in your hand, and when that’s what you’re doing, the last place you want that object to wind up is on the ground. But wanting doesn’t make it so, and all too often something horrible happens and the thing you wanted to be in your hand is on the floor instead. At that moment, all the joy vanishes from your life forever. The thing you were holding is now all the way down by your feet, and in order to get it back, you will have to bend down all the way to the floor to pick it up. There is truly no other human experience that compares to that feeling of insurmountable despair.

Sure, I’ve been through other painful experiences—I have lost a parent and even experienced the death of one of my children. But none of these tragedies required me to bend down on the ground and search the floor for an item when all I had wanted was to hold that item aloft in the air. I would rather experience the devastating death of my son over and over every single day than drop something on the ground even once. At least when my son died, I didn’t have to wash him off in the sink like I had to do with the piece of pizza I dropped on the floor the other day. Shocking, humiliating, and devastating do not even begin to describe the experience.

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Dropping things on the ground is not the kind of thing people like to think about—it’s the kind of nightmare you always assume will happen to somebody else. But the painful truth is that every single one of us is at risk of holding something nice like a soda or a baseball, and then fumbling that object and have it not be in our hands anymore. When that happens, all we can do is look up to the sky and cry out, “I did not want to spill my drink, but I have done so, and this is an enormous problem for me.” It’s the worst thing that most of us will ever face, but all of us will face it.

I do not know if life is worth living once you drop a thing on the ground. Sometimes when I’m holding a fork and the fork slips out of my hands and falls on the floor, I feel like it might be better to die right then and there. But the one silver lining is that as long as all of us are living through the hell of dropping things, we can at least take solace in the fact that we are not alone.