Stairway to Heaven
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“Wow!” Pawel craned his neck as far back as it would go in order to take in the immense staircase that now stood before him. It was called the Stairway to Heaven and it had unceremoniously appeared smack dab in the middle of Pawel’s back yard.
“I am never going to be able to climb that thing. Would you look at it?” Pawel could see others climbing the staircase. They were spread out along its length. Some were climbing in groups, while others seemed to be climbing by themselves.
Pawel looked around the base of the staircase to see if there were any instructions or directions about how to proceed. He found a bench behind the staircase that had a tattered book sitting on it. Pawel sat down and opened the book. He read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…” As he read through the book and learned of the way to heaven by this stair he was filled with a hunger to use this new knowledge.
And, as if in response to his desire, Pawel was startled to find himself already on the third step of the staircase, the book in his hands and his feet working steadily to climb to the top. “Isn’t this something,” Pawel marveled. “Maybe I can climb this thing.” He looked up the staircase and was impressed with the agility of the ones way out in front. How they leaped from step to step and never missed or faltered! Amazing! Pawel looked back at the ground and saw that he had passed the tenth step already. He was on his way. For better or for worse, he was on his way.
It only took Pawel a few hours to catch up with the slowest of the people on the stair. He caught up with the first man about mid-afternoon. The man was sitting on a step, clearly fighting for breath and in need of help. Pawel considered stopping to give the man a hand but quickly thought better of it and kept up his pace. “I have my own staircase to climb; there is no time to be dawdling!”
Looking back over his shoulder, Pawel saw that he was already a considerable distance past that ‘lazy man,’ as he had quickly named him, and had made good progress since the morning. He was still carrying the old book he had found, but was less inclined to carry it as he was when he had first begun, and considered leaving it by the way. “You know, for someone who could use it,” he told himself. “But, I’ll keep it for now,” he said. “At least until I reach the halfway point.”
And by midday he was there. He arrived at the halfway point winded but in good spirits. He turned to see the view below him and was happy to note the numbers of people he had passed on the way. He was even happier to notice that there were some still finding their way to the first step! “What a view from up here!” he exclaimed. “Though they look a little idle to me, barely trying at all,” he said. Turning his back on them Pawel looked up once more and saw that the people up ahead had also stopped, but were looking down at him. They too were shaking their heads and smiling to themselves.
“What is that all about?” Pawel wondered. “Who do they think they are?”
With renewed determination Pawel set aside the now cumbersome book he had carried so carefully since the morning and began his ascent to Heaven once again. By mid-afternoon he was three quarters of the way and by evening he was nearing the last of the steps. He was exceedingly tired and out of breath. The climb had taken him all day and it had wearied him. But looking back at what he had accomplished, and at all the people he had left behind, Pawel felt a wave of pride pass over him. “I did it! I made it to the top!” he said.
“So you did,” said a voice from right beside him. “And for that you will surely be rewarded. But tell me something, Pawel, my child. Have you brought any with you on your journey?” And, casting his eyes down upon the myriads climbing so wearily, the Voice said, “Seems to me that there are plenty yet who could have used some help.”
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