Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I am in this stairwell about twice a month. It is in a building off West Deming Place in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The elevator is slow and it is good exercise. Great excercise when I get there, check in early and then decide to go back down for a coffee at the Starbucks next door and come back up. 

I will admit, compared to the colorful and accommodating elevator area, it is sometimes intimidating and feels dark and a little gritty. 

When I get to my floor and open the door I am greeted by lovely imitation wood flooring, brightly colored walls, great lighting and good people. 

Slightly related to this is life when we are at the ground floor..the bottom. We think there is nowhere in life to go but up when we are at the bottom. We are told that by motivational speakers, preachers, psychologists, shamans, 12-step folk and others. But there is a truth they forget to mention all too often. It can get worse. There are basements and cellars and subterranean levels to get lost in and lose light and even life. We can always go lower. It can, however, also get better. 

Sometimes in life, the way up can look a little scary. It can be a little dark and the stench of the bottom can sometimes make it hard to breathe. All it takes is a deep breath and a first step to begin climbing from the bottom to where we need and want to be. After that first step, you take another. You keep going. You keep climbing. As you get higher it can often look exactly the same as where we just were the last flight of steps and the flight of steps before that. The difference between the bottom and the second or third or fourth floor is a number on a door exactly like the last door. We may be getting closer to the top, but it sure does not look like we are going anywhere. All it takes to see the difference is to open the door at the top, bask in the warmth, and look out a window to see how far you have really come.

In the stairwell, we do not always see the progress made. We just see the next step and the next flight. Progress is being made. We are climbing. 

Don't stop climbing. 

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