Stairway to Heaven

A stairway in Lisbon, Portugal, near the Palac...
A stairway in Lisbon, Portugal, near the Palace of São Bento (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We walk up and down stairways daily (though some avoid them by taking the escalator or elevators!). We walk up short flights of stairs that are simple; and we sometimes have the opportunity to walk up grand and ostentatious ones. We experience curved ones; and ones that seem to go on forever. During certain periods of our lives, walking up a staircase is a simple act that we do without thinking. At other times we find we need to pause to catch our breath; and that a simple flight of stairs takes much effort and pain.

A spiral staircase inside one of the Vatican M...
A spiral staircase inside one of the Vatican Museums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Staircases can be compared to our life experiences: some are simple, some are extravagant, and some are difficult to go though. Like a curved staircase, we often have to experience twists and turns in our lives that seem to go round in circles as we are experiencing them. When we look back on the experience, however, we can see that all those turns led to an end point that was our goal. How wonderful it is to look back and see that we have finally achieved what we had set out to achieve.

A straight flight of stairs, at Porta Garibald...
A straight flight of stairs, at Porta Garibaldi sotterranea station, Milan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think of the dream Jacob had as described in Genesis 28: 10-22. We read that Jacob dreams of a ladder, and that this ladder (or stairway) is the connection between heaven and earth. He sees God standing on the top, and angels ascending and descending into heaven. In the vision God makes a promise to Jacob that He will continue to support him. I like to think of the stairway symbolising that connection between us and God – and that it is our choice whether we want to climb it or not.

There are some who believe that they can buy their way to heaven with money and gold. This reminds me of Led Zeppelin’s song Staircase to Heaven in which the woman believes that “all that glitters is gold” and that she will be able to buy “the stairway to heaven”.

As a Christian, however, I believe that one is unable to buy one’s way into heaven: the stairway to heaven cannot be bought with money but with the belief that Jesus Christ is the way to God. But how you climb that stairway is also important. I tend to agree with James when he wrote that one’s faith in Jesus being the stairway to God should lead to good works and charitable acts (James 2: 14-26). As we climb the stairway of life, experiencing all those twists and turns that we all do, we should live our lives as God would want us to. We should help others in our community, and treat them with respect. In this way we would be mirroring the person whom we see as our role model: Jesus Christ.

I am climbing my stairway to heaven. There are times when it is simple and straight; and there are times when the stairs go round in circles. There have been times when I have had to stop and take a breather; or lean on someone to help me continue climbing. But I continue looking and moving upward, secure in the knowledge that I will eventually reach my goal.

What stairway are you currently climbing in your life?

(Join Jake every week for a theme for creative inspiration. This week’s prompt is stairway)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

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60 thoughts on “Stairway to Heaven

  1. Great perspective on the meaning of ladders and stairways in our lives! I find this a very useful metaphor for my life journey.

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  2. Nice post. I agree that you really can try, through material things, to gain entry into heaven, but it is good deed and character that is remembered, not how much you paid for something. I try to live my life ‘in service,’ to people, to animals, to the greater powers (whatever you name them). For me, the path I take, is also the goal, as you said, sometime winding, sometimes more direct, but how you walk that path, is in the end, where you will end up. – DogDaz

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    1. We are in total agreement! In addition, I believe that saying you believe in God is not enough. You need to show your belief and commitment to Him by the way in which you live your life.

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    1. Thank you – there were so many pictures that I found it was difficult choosing. And then, of course, there are all the stairways I have experienced in my life for which there are no photographs 🙂

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      1. Raising consciousness or spiritual awareness & the image of the stairway go together so well! Easy to picture, everyone has climbed a stairway at some point ………. & wasn’t that Led Zepp song the best??

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  3. Absolutely gorgeous post and photos yet again hon. Love the video too! One of my favourite songs as well. 🙂 Stunning entry! 🙂
    *big hugs*

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    1. And isn’t that what helps to build a community? And the help is not only given by our fellow human beings, but also by the angles that God has sent to help us 🙂

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  4. The stairway I’m climbing is going to be a long and definitely twisty one. When you want people to accept change rather than settle for the status quo, you will always find that initially there is resistance. Many people do not believe unless they have witnessed or seen with their own eyes. It is frightening to many people to take a step in a different direction and sometimes someone’s security is at risk while doing this. I think of the many people who helped hide the jews and other persecuted persons during world war II. They risked their own life to uphold their belief in morality that told them killing the jews, gypsys and other ‘undesirables’ in Nazi occupied Europe was immoral and wrong.

    Recently, I heard a stat from a jewish scholar, that only 1 out of 100 will make that kind of sacrifice for others and that these people are usually the ones who enjoy solitude, take time to consider and ponder choices and often don’t share the opinion of the majority. I thought that this stat was quite generous. I find that particular humanitarian quality rare and seek to find others with this quality.

    On April 19th, in the city of Toronto, at the Toronto Police Services Board meeting I stood up for a large segment of people in our community – those who find themselves in mental health crisis, racialized minorities, the homeless… not mutually exclusive groups! It was frightening to speak before a board of politicians and the policing community to do this. Public speaking is not my forte. It’s a little scary, to tell the truth. But, I knew that my message needed to be shared and this gave me courage. I also knew that it would not be believed because it runs entirely counter to what society wants to believe about how we take care of our vulnerable. That is why I knew I must tell what I knew and have known for 16 years and due to fear, did not talk about.

    With the support of our coalition – The Never Again! Coalition, consisting of people from Christian Peace Teams, a mennonite street pastor, the Empowerment Council, witnesses, Santuary, Black Action Defence Committee and others I felt supported enough, to become brave enough, to speak and share what I witnessed.

    But I am just starting at the bottom of a very long and twisty staircase with a long way up to go…we are just starting the climb.

    Darlene Marett of peopleschoicemovement.com, a member of the Never Again! Coalition

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    1. How brave of you to stand up and speak for those who are unable to against those who are used to being unquestioned. What I realise from what you have said is that you have not done this alone – that others have supported you and helped you dig deep down for the courage within you to stand by your convictions. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

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    1. Thank you Sandra. Even though I cannot take credit for the photos, I do admit I took a conscious decision to compare a stairway to our lives and our desire to reach heaven. And then in my head popped an illustration of Jacob’s ladder that I remember from the children’s Bible we had as children.

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  5. Some interesting points here. I have to admit I think of life like a stairway, we go up a few steps, then we go back. Life is like an upward battle. Great post. Love those photos.

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  6. Excellent post. Stairways are outstanding metaphors. It’s not the direction that matters, it’s the fact that they lead one somewhere.

    Sidebar: I’ve seen the spiral at the Vatican … fabulous!

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  7. I love that spiral stairway, especially from the angle in which it was taken. Funny, but I did a post on Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to heaven, too, for this challenge. It seemed only natural. I’m surprised a lot more bloggers didn’t do the same. 🙂 Great post, Colline.

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    1. Thank you Orples. I know that as a teen I spent a lot of time listening to music and many memories and thoughts of that time are coloured with music. And this was one of the great songs 🙂

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