Stairway to heaven

How quickly we forget the lessons we suffered so long to learn.

A year ago as Jordan and I traipsed about France, sometimes scaling great heights in cathedral bell towers to enjoy great view fro the top, I reflected upon and then wrote about how the endless narrow and winding staircases were for me a metaphor for life with God.

Over the last months, since the beginning of 2015, I’ve struggled mightily to keep the next step in front of me as my focus instead of looking always to the horizon. When I was taught again yesterday that trying to look too far ahead is disastrous, sweet husband challenged me, noting that manning a tractor requires exactly the opposite focus–looking down at what’s in front of you is what will send you reeling from the cab and set your rows wonky.

 A few moments of thought revealed that the challenge actually fit perfectly with the metaphor I’d experienced: it is modern life (like mechanized tractors) which urges us to look further and further ahead, not paying mind to what’s under our feet, while moving on our own power fits more appropriately the way humans are made to interact with God.

And so, having easily forgotten the wise lesson that the endless, panic-inducing staircases had instilled in me hardly a year ago, I’ve spent much of this year tripping up stairs, trying to find what is around the bend, what is waiting just on the edge of the horizon, purposely trying to ignore what is underneath my feet–what is right in front of me.

Yoga camp helped shake me out of my future-obsessed mindset in July, and walking up the stairs of the oldest building in Minnesota (the round garrison at Ft. Snelling) yesterday further jarred me back into the present. There’s very little that I can do about the way the future will play out–indeed, the only thing I can do to prepare for the future is to live well in the present.

 The very next step in front of me is the only thing over which I have any kind of power; how can I reflect God in the next 10 minutes? How can I live faithfully today? Where is God reaching out to me through the people I encounter and the places I’m called to serve?

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