Stairs play a role in our lives in both a figurative and literal sense.
Our first encounter with steps is as an infant or toddler. They are an obstacle that we sought to climb, and many times our parents came running to us, picking us up and telling us that the stairs are not safe. They loomed in front of us shouting mystery and adventure that our small minds couldn’t yet comprehend, but we knew that there was something up there otherwise there’d be no baby gate or person in the way preventing our progress.
As young children we are taught to hold the railing and take our time going up or down the steps. Sometimes that over-emphasis can be an adult’s undoing. Just think of the time you’ve walked behind your child as they went down the steps in front of you. Time seems to grind to a halt as you travel the flight of steps with your child. But with each climb they become more confident and slow, deliberate steps become runs, skipping steps, flying up or sliding down a flight. The steps become a fun part of life that we look forward to climbing.
The climb becomes more symbolic as we enter adulthood, and the caution returns as we look up the steps of our future with both excitement and trepidation. The unknown nature of the climb ahead can paralyze many and so we place restrictions on ourselves that may limit how far we climb and limit our success. These limitations aren’t always fear based, however. Some of us are just not good as others at climbing, and others may just lack the motivation to climb, or ,perhaps, each of us has a level of the climb that we are satisfied with. A “top” or summit that is individualized to our own strengths, weaknesses and abilities. That kind of self knowledge tends not to be with us at the bottom of the steps, but hopefully, as we climb it will.
As we enter the middle of our lives, steps take energy. For some they are vued as an obstacle that doesn’t hold adventure but stress. This statement could apply to both to the literal and figurative staircases in our lives. Climbing steps makes people tired; rarely do you fly up the steps like had been done in childhood because we know what’s up there, we’ve seen the man behind the curtain, the sense of adventure just isn’t there–unless your wife looks at you and says, “Let’s go upstairs.”