Ladder of Hope – Episcopal Cafe

Ladder of hope

Author: Emily Meeks

The basement is cold and dark, and a portal of light from the only bedroom window draws me closer as I unpack my bag. I sit on the carpet, hugging my knees tightly and feeling the bed on my back. I wondered where I could practice focused prayer during our time with friends in a mountain hut.

I look up and there are ladders. It rests on silver which forms a semicircle in relation to the slope of the earth. I feel the light permeate the shadows of the dimly lit basement. My eyes climb along each rung of the ladder until I meet a branch and the sky. I see the colors of the season in hanging leaves: persimmon, tangelo, butter and artichoke. What new colors and perspectives can we see that have been blocked by shadows?

I keep thinking about this picture of a ladder on paths lined with wet leaves and around tables with cups of hot chocolate and black lavender tea. I ask for the purpose of basement window ladders. My friend says that it is for emergency evacuations, to get to safety if the entrance to the main floor is blocked. I pull the rungs of the ladder from the ground to that leaf.

“I have heard of thee by ear, but now mine eye seeth thee,” the words of Job 42: 5 appear in our lexical Bible study. The conversation moves to blind spots even when we might have a new memory of God’s presence. Some say how, when they were young, they felt a comforting presence when her stepmother was mean to her and sent her to her bedroom. She says now, looking back, she knows she could see that it was Christ with her. This presence lifted her from fear and comforted her from the pain. We also wonder how it felt that Bartimaeus jumped to his feet and said to Jesus directly, “Rabbi, I want to see,” and that Jesus answered with such certainty and clarity, “Go,” “Your faith has healed you” (Mark 10). : 51-52).

The image of the ladder returns. I am re-exploring the connections between this structure, blind spots and vision. What does Jesus ’ministry share with us about being a cross of hope as we invite others to participate in the faith?

I see round beams of headlights of oncoming traffic and I know I have to stop pedaling. These early autumn days are still holding back the morning light as we wait for the weather to change, while I wait at the traffic light.

The headlights stop, and I can now see them from the corner of the sidewalk at the intersection. I feel the pain radiate down my legs. “It’s a dark morning,” she says, “but help is on the way” as she holds my pink jacket by her side. I can’t stop screaming. She won’t let me go, but I don’t resist.

I find out what I neither saw nor heard – the car hit my engine from behind. My rear wheel looks like a sculpture, bent and folded, and separated from the frame. The lady stays to help me climb higher ground, on a folding chair that a neighbor brings to the curb, while first aid arrives to examine my injuries.

I don’t know her name nor do I even thank her. In a moment of pain and fear, she saw me through a blind spot. Her courage, presence and love became a ladder of hope from the shadows.


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