Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILDHOOD (03/09/17)
- TITLE: The Stairway
By Dennis Gallemore
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Growing older, her parents allowed her to climb without holding their hands. At first, she found this newfound freedom exhilarating, but to her surprise, she would occasionally long for the security of that simple act of holding her parents' hands. It was in those times that she would feel the gentle clasping of another hand, one that she could feel yet could not always see.
Stepping higher, she noticed others, some ahead of her, and some behind her. Looking behind, the stairway seemed quite short, but looking ahead, the stairway seemed endless. With childlike wonder, she stepped higher, imagining what each placement of her feet would bring.
As she climbed, childhood was left behind as young adulthood beckoned. Her friends upon the staircase had become myriad but there was always One who stayed near her even as other friends came and went. Much of the time she did not see the One, but she felt that powerful presence more and more.
As she matured, she chose a husband to accompany her on the seemingly never-ending journey up the stairway. Before long, she had children of her own. She cradled each one in her arms, and then gently held their hands while they climbed beside her. Grandchildren, great- grandchildren, and even great- great- grandchildren came. Time, which seemed so endless as a child, began to speed up, each step of the stairway receding behind her in an endless blur, but the presence of the One remained near and changeless even as everything else swirled around her as dust caught in the wind.
Many times on her journey upward she and her fellow climbers struggled to retain their balance as the stairway itself trembled and swayed. Troubles of all kinds buffeted the stairway with gale force winds: The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl, World War Two. Keeping her gaze fixed upon the One, she climbed through the tempests.
Along the journey, she took the time to experience all that life had to offer her. She sang, she danced, she played the guitar. She played games, she read books, she tended gardens, and she grew flowers. She cooked, she baked, and she created Christmas gifts out of nothing. All the while, the One watched with loving eyes as she cared for her family, her friends, her neighbors, and even complete strangers, all on their own journey up the stairway.
As the years passed, she found herself alternating between focusing on the steps before her and on her fellow travelers on the stairway beneath her. Reaching down, she grasped those struggling on the steps below and gently but firmly helped them up to the next step. Encouraged, those that she helped, more often than not, turned to help those below them to continue up the stairway.
At times, others on the stairway with her would vanish.: family, friends, neighbors. It was during those times that she most clearly felt the presence of the One beside her, strengthening her when her own strength began to wane.
As she aged, the flow of time became that of a raging river., as the lower steps became lost in the mists of time. The One's presence became overwhelming: tangible, warm, and loving. Looking ahead , she saw that only a few steps remained, and then only one, and He was there.
Taking her hand, He pulled her up the last step. “My good and faithful servant, welcome Home.” Waving His hand, the ivory-white doors swung open, the light within spilling out. Beyond the gates lay the most beautiful flower garden that she had ever seen, a marbled garden bench near its edge. Upon the bench rested a beautiful ruby-red guitar, glowing from inner light. Taking her hand, He gently pulled her toward the bench. “There are so many here who are waiting to to speak with you again, but first, I have a request. Would you sing me a song?”
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