I’ve always been a cautious person on stairs. Maybe there’s some subconscious recollection of my mother falling with me down a flight of stairs when I was a baby. In any case, I do have a tendency to hold on to a railing, especially when descending.
It’s no surprise that not every stair case has a hand rail. Things we take for granted in this land are not a reality in others. This is especially true when you’re looking at antiquities.
As we walked through the sites of Italy during a recent vacation, I thought about how spoiled we are as Americans to have “accessibility” helps even in the oldest of our sites. Then again, the oldest of our sites are nothing compared to the rest of the world — think Egypt.
In most cases, I wouldn’t mind, but I was feeling my age and my feet on this latest trip, and as I climbed and descended the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, and the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, among others, I found the task daunting.
That’s when the offered hand came in.
My youngest son never failed to be at my side, giving his hand or arm for me to lean on. His presence enabled me to find my strength, to persevere, to press on in climbing or descending, now unafraid of losing my step or falling.
He was by my side.
While his older brother and even my daughter-in-law stepped up throughout the trip, this ever-present help spoke volumes to me, not just as a mother, but as a way of life.
As a mother, I think about the years of carrying my son, helping him walk as a toddler, picking him up when he fell. He needed my help then. I need his now.
For years I was the independent one, traveling the world with my husband and kids, handling the roads laid before me. Now, in a new stage of life, I miss the presence of those who journeyed with me. Walking alone has its risks and fears.
The extended arm of my son was a sweet reminder from the Lord that I am not alone. Whether on the physical road of this world or spiritual journey toward the next, the Lord is keeping me steady and sure. He’s checked out the way, not only walking before me, showing me how it’s done, but walking beside me, allowing me to lean on him when the way is hard.
He also teaches me that I’m blessed to have the help not only from my children, but also that of family and friends he sends at just the right time for support. Whether a spoken word of encouragement or warning, a note of love and care, God uses others to be that offered hand in word and deed, when the way is hard before me.
I realized that the offered hand is only helpful when it’s accepted. I had to reach out and take it, recognizing my own vulnerability and weakness. It’s in accepting my weakness that he makes me strong.
You may think no one is helping you; no one cares. It’s not true. It might be that you don’t see them, because you haven’t admitted you need them. Remember, we have to recognize that we can’t do it, before he provides.
Are you facing trials without handrails? Look around you for the offered hand; take it and press on.
Grace and Peace