It was a warm spring evening in Oklahoma. We drove in our Model A Ford car to church as the sun began its drop in the West. I sat in the back seat, no seat belts, between my younger brothers. We always argued about ‘who got the window’. This day I lost. When we drove around the church, I caught a glimpse of the long flight of steps that led to the front double doors of the tall white wooden church building. The steps seemed to go forever.
Yes, in my mind, those 24 steps seems to lead into heaven. They were girl-sized steps and not difficult to climb. I am sure now that they would not seem so extensive and intimidating. Dad parked a half block away and we walked back to the church. For some reason there was time to not hurry into church. I climbed up the stairs and then looked back…and studied the steps. I turned and began a descent, skipping a step and landing on two steps below side ways. Then moving up one step, and skipping down a step and landing on two feet on two different steps. The pattern I created of skipping and gradually going down the steps became a game.
Mother taught me about the ‘steps’ on the piano…it made perfect sense to think of the steps as a keyboard on the piano. I continued to play my game on the steps, totally engrossed. Soon Dad called to me, and I climbed the steps again to enter in the church.
We sat on wooden pews, and pulled the brown hardbacked ‘Favorite Hymns’ songbook from the rack to sing hymns, “In the Garden”, “Wonderful Words of Life”, “The Old Rugged Grace” and “Amazing Grace”. Dad and I sat on the back bench in church. He found the page, propped it up on his knee and then traced the words of each verse with one hand. I learned the concept of verses and that music was ‘spelled’ from the little circles that decorated the lines above.
I learned how to behave in church on the short pew in the front of the church under the watchful eyes of Dad and Mom who sang in the choir every Sunday morning. Mom had ‘that look’ that spoke volumes if we didn’t behave. My brothers and I learned patience and perseverance on that short front pew, plus lots of obedience on that short wooden bench at the front of the church.
Life is like a flight of steps. Many times I thought of the games on the steps from the 1930’s. In life we travel up the stairs to our proclaimed goal. Sometimes we are distracted and play games on our way. Our progress is halted because of the games we play. When we are called back to our climb to the top of the stairs we resume our journey up the steps of life.
As age has laid its mantle on my shoulders, my physical steps are slower. I no longer skip up and down the steps, except in my heart. Now the inward steps of life have a deeper meaning….for there are always spiritual goals to aspire to. As I look back, I see mis-steps and detours in my life. Now I look forward to entering the sanctuary of peace that awaits us through Jesus Christ. My energy doesn’t come from bread alone, but the spiritual truths I find in God’s Word.
When I falter and become indecisive, I turn my face to the Lord and my spirit skips as I climb the steps to Heaven.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9
A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way? Proverbs 20:24
I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. Psalm 119:59
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; Psalm 37:23
Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps. Psalm 85:13
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. I Peter 2:21