The Stairwell

The church was big
The building, that is
I was small
Very small
There was a stairwell
A quiet place
That climbed from the solid basement
To the third floor height.
Unless people were exiting a service
It was
almost always
empty
but not empty
entirely
It was bathed,
soaked,
saturated
in prayer.
How many people stepped into this quiet place
To say thanks?
To confess?
To plead on their own behalf,
or that of someone they loved?
I could not have counted then
It was too many
And the place
to me
seemed holy.
No matter what pain,
no matter what had been done,
no matter what I did,
no matter what happened–
when I stepped into that stairwell
I felt
God.

I always lingered in the stairwell
Hoping He would speak
Afraid I would hear
Not feeling I deserved such things

It was electric magic in that place
It was one of the few places
My spirit
would calm down…

When I left that church
so many years later
(“a country-club,” I said)
it was very hard
to leave
that stairwell.

What if I went to another church
and they didn’t have a stairwell?
or what if it was always choked with people?
never still?
never quiet?
what if God would not visit other stairwells?
what if I was leaving God?

I’ll always remember
the peace I felt
when all my world was hell
it wasn’t hell
in that stairwell.

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11 thoughts on “The Stairwell

  1. This has got to be your best–or my fave, anyway. Wow and wow. I so love this. It reminded me of a John Tesh song about God being in the stairwell of the Twin Towers on 9/11. So if I had to answer the question of whether God visits other stairwells, apparently He does. I firmly believe you–or anybody–can have a “stairwell” in your heart, where we meet with God any ol’ time. Is it okay with you if I print this out to keep–and maybe reblog it, later this week? Thanks for sharing it with us–God bless your day. Caddo

  2. My place of peace has no religious connection but I understand how you felt through your words. Thank you for sharing. I can’t imagine not having my place of calm or leaving it behind. Maybe I’m not as brave as I think.

  3. I have a feeling you are still able to be in that stairwell in your spirit! There was a stair up to a very high bell tower in huge church in the city where I raised my children. I almost felt the brush of angel wings any time I was allowed to climb up into that bell tower!

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