Tag Archives: attentiveness

chutes and ladders

In the last few days, the old game, “Chutes and Ladders,” has come to mind. It was simple; a game designed for 3-4 year olds, I think. You roll a die and move along a path. Along the path are, you guessed it, chutes descending and ladders ascending. If you land on a square so marked, you are exported down or up. Simple game.

Two of my favorite songs use the imagery of a ladder. In Nickelcreek’s “Reasons Why,” a ladder is compared to our presuppositions and consequential decisions which are many times propped against a wrong wall:  a wall that leads nowhere. In Brooke Fraser’s, “Hosea’s Wife,” people are compared to mere ladders, something used to support our  climb beyond them.  So ladders resonate with me…they are familiar metaphor.

But ladders are showing up for me again right now, in conversation, in dream.  And this time they are not paths to nowhere save our own ruin, they are the great machines they were first imagined to be: the quickened, shorten path to higher ground. A ladder compresses work in time. On a ladder, it still takes the same work to gain ground, but the work is completed in less time.

Climbing a ladder requires a few things: work: each step requires the lifting of one’s own weight, trust: man wasn’t crafted for flight…air doesn’t well support us, and balance: without some of this stuff a quick assent can easily become a quick descent. And ladder climbing requires a purposefulness. You don’t just accidently climb a ladder.

But ladders have come to be, at least in my understanding of late, an important area to give pause, even thought. What if in life, as in that simple, simple game, ladders are postioned all along the path before us?  What if they are avenues to ascend, more quickly, to redeem time.

The question must then be begged, do I even recognize ladders when I come upon them? Some ladder designs of late, as you have no doubt like me, seen on t.v., are queer, un-ladder-like. What if the ladder looks unconventional, maybe even like a machine of death? Will we yet recognize and employ it for its designed purpose – to raise us?

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Where God?

““Love the LOrd your God with all of your mind.”

Is that not remembering?”- PJ

I am trying to hear, see, know the place where we are to meet, this time, God. I know that You are everywhere and anywhere, but sometimes You come close, specifically in place and time, and this time, I think, it may be especially so. I remember encounters with You, God. I remember conversations that changed everything, on a college quadrangle, in a basement boiler room, on a stone protruding the river, beneath golden leaves next to the Consumer Science Building, on the steps next to Park Hall, by the fountain behind Old College, picking blackberries with my Nana, in Dana’s arms on retreat, watching the treetops at the Art School/Old Cemetery, in the prayer room at Wesley, in the Garden Club’s rose garden, in my car at Tuckston, on the path back to camp at Glisson, in a dark corner of rm. 205, laying next to Karen on her bunk at camp, riding along the ridge on Shades Crest, in the middle of the street outside the hotel in Phoenix, in the aisle at Kingwood, on the boat at Cumberland, along the beach at Destin, in the car coming back from the Coker’s, in my dreams in Texas, about to enter the chapel at Berry College, in my bed – at my parents’ home – my senior year of college, in a metal chair in Lakeland, in the First Baptist sanctuary 9/11, halfway down the hill at Joe Tucker Park, in Columbiana – cresting the rise on 26, on the third row against the wall at Tres Dias, rounding the curve of the daffodils near Gainesville, walking the floor in the KCS auditorium, leaning my forehead against the side wall at EPOCH, driving out to Vanessa’s brother’s lake house, standing behind the back row at a Master’s Commission showcase in 2003, as Whit swung me round and round, on the walk at Alpha Chi, in my seat at Hillsong this summer, seeing Kim’s message in my inbox, getting Kathryn’s call Tuesday night, watching Millie that prayer time when Jeremy saw, too, running into John Kasay at the Journalism Building, hearing Trent’s fishing dream, driving along Madeira Beach, watching Allison in worship, on the parallel bars at St. Joseph’s, the collapse into God at Beachfreak, in the goldenrod behind Karen’s house in Carrolton, hearing the “I’ve got this” at the AM Lectio by the ocean, the moment Mille and Melanie first bound in with the dreams, in the wind, on the beach just north of Santa Rosa, when my eyes locked with James Ryle’s, on the road near what is now Taco Bell in Helena….

There are others, moments that make up this life of mine. I have many memories beyond these, but in these fragile moments, God spoke or sighed or just breathed near me and I knew God was and was with me.

Remembering is good.

What comes now? Where should I be? Will you just come upon me? I feel you coming near, please come close.

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