Life at the Top of the Stairs

thHB3BRFJ5Many years ago, I read a book that described a garden with a grate in the middle, with a long descending staircase, and woman sitting at the bottom where the sun light couldn’t reach and where she sat alone. I don’t remember much more about the book, but this is where my imagination takes me… She sits alone in her fear, her hurt, her pain, and her broken heart. She knows there is a staircase, she knows there is a grate that simply needs to be lifted, she knows there is a garden with sunshine and flowers, she also knows there are people up there who love her.
This image came rushing back to my minds eye in the last few days… I realized that over the last three and half years I have descended that emotional staircase and for a while camped out and created a home on that landing deep at the bottom of the staircase. Grief does that to you, it takes you to a place you didn’t know you were going and can keep you somewhere long after you anticipated.
In the last few days I realized something profound. I haven’t made it to the grate at the top of the staircase much less into the garden, but I have ascended many stairs, to the point that I can’t see or even really remember the home I made in the darkness. From the step I am on, I can feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, I can smell the faint fragrance of grass and flowers, I can sense the breeze blowing by, and I can hear the people waiting for me to return.
The beautiful thing is this, some of those people who I can hear, have opened the grate for themselves, from time to time, and crawled down the staircase to sit with me. They couldn’t stay because it wasn’t their fear, their hurt, their pain, or their broken heart. But they could sit with me, they could remind me of life in the garden, they could pray with me and for me, they could make me laugh for a moment here and there, they could remind me of the faithfulness of God, they could sit with me and be present. Even now, I can hear life going on in the garden, new life blooming, some things dying, leaves changing, giggles and belly laughs, sniffles and ugly cries, people living in community, and doing life together.
I’m still not there but I’m closer than I have been in years. I am so thankful for the people who came and sat with me. I am so thankful that the Lord never left me even when I thought He might have. I am thankful that I now know how to better sit with someone in their dark place. I am thankful for this season even though it has been the hardest thing I have ever survived. Survived… the best way to describe where I have been, where I still sit, and the future seasons that I know will come.

1 thought on “Life at the Top of the Stairs

  1. Beth, what a long hard journey you have traveled these last three years. I am thankful too that you have survived! Your ministry to me at the Cancer Infusion Center was a ministry of kindred spirit. Your knowing loss has given you a gift of being with others who are experiencing loss that I can’t quite express in words, but that I am profoundly grateful for.

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