I found this picture recently, and there's just something about it that has affected me tremendously. Yeah, yeah, I'm sappy and one of those wishy washy Believers who doesn't know any better than to put more faith in science than God, but what can I say? I quite like the idea that there's a Heavenly Father, watching us and loving us despite our foibles and failures, putting Heaven within our reach. Who wouldn't seriously want to live in Everlasting Perfection in the Presence of God? OK I'm only partly being facetious here. No disrespect to nontheists and atheist intended. Well, maybe a little. Nah, it's all good.
So the real reason for this entry. I love this image. I love the warmth it exudes and the welcoming watchfulness of the angels, even though the stairway seems to be go on for so long. It's a steep climb, and from this vantage point, appears that it very well could go on forever. It looks like it's almost too much work to climb those stairs and make it to Heaven, and it would be equally easy to just say "Meh, I'm happy where I am, that looks too hard, too high, and too far. Why bother?" or "I'll do something about the state my life and soul are in tomorrow."
Then I realized that we do this every single day. Every decision we make is one step on the stairway to Heaven. Every single choice we make, every single word we say whether it's to lift someone's spirits or offer advice, or give comfort and a word of love, is a stair on that seemingly endless stairway. The stairway represents our life, our entire life. Heaven really isn't so far away... unless you miss a step and fall. Instead of offering a word of encouragement or kindness, but using words that cut like a knife (see a Heavy Metal theme going on here? Heh heh) a few of those steps are bound to crumble and send you tumbling further away from Heaven.
That stairway isn't one the Soul has to climb once our body has succumbed and is laid to rest... that stairway is one that we're climbing right now, during our physical life.
And those angels? They're following us up those stairs, whispering in our ears and supporting us by the elbow when we begin to falter, stumble, and grow tired. But being the watchful, helpful creatures they are, they can't interfere when we stumble so drastically that we end up falling. Yet they're still there for us when we shake off the proverbial dust and debris from the fall, ready to help us rebuilt and climb those stairs when we're ready to make another attempt, helping us in our redemption.
When it's time for our Soul to face the gates of Heaven, we'll have already climbed that stairway, proven our worth during life, during that climb. And any fear of heights we may have won't matter, because we have our Guardian Angels and all the Saints ready to welcome us through the gates, putting the steepness of that stairway behind us but patting us on the back for making the journey successfully, helping us to finally rest our weary feet from having made that long, lifetime journey up those neverending stairs.