“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King
When I read that quote by King I imagined myself at a staircase. (I was at the top going down.) Then I thought, ‘that’s funny, I wonder what most people envision?’
So I asked my subscribers if they imagined taking the first step up or down. It really doesn’t matter because it’s a metaphor for stepping out on a mission in faith. I spent my entire morning fielding the responses and out of more than 100 who responded only three of us picture that first step going down.
I guess some could say I need to “get a life” spending time on this, but I was really interested in the age of people and what they thought. One of the “downers” was 37 and the range in age for the “uppers” was between 28 and 72. What I loved were some of the thoughtful responses so I’ll share some of them with you. I really didn’t think it was going to be that interesting, but it sure was! I’ll tell you at the end why I think I envision stepping down instead of up.
From psychology of dreams, going up represents a climb from unconsciousness, into consciousness, so a person, who envisions climbing up, has made a resolution to begin something in the conscious awake state. The climbing down represents taking what you know from the conscious level and looking for roots of a problem or the seeking for a resolution from the unconsciousness or dream state.
I am 53 but I envision going up. I also envision me with a pitcher above my head and all the blessings from God pouring down on me. I love that vision and it really gets me going because I think that anything I need God can provide for me. Plus, I often think that my pitcher (me) is often empty because I have given my all away helping others. So I am empty trying to climb the staircase and so I have to stop, refill my pitcher (from God's pitcher), and then I am running up the staircase because I have enough energy, motivation, drive, desire, love, and stamina to climb up. Recharging our batteries is so necessary. Martie
Now, what an interesting question and even before I reached your comments I had instantly seen in my mind a spiral staircase and I was standing at the bottom waiting to put my foot on the first step before climbing up higher. How intriguing. I wonder what sort of replies you will get from your readers.
I’ve been listening to The Mouth Trap this morning and, apart from enjoying your words and reading enormously, it has thrown up all sorts of questions, desires and looking-forward-to’s. Yesterday I was led to a lovely website called Gratefulness.org . While looking through the Gratefulness site I was thrilled to see that there was a section called ‘Strengthening Your Inner Child through Gratefulness’!
I'm 37 and I've always pictured going up when I heard that quote. I think I like picturing going down better though. It seems easier somehow. Vicki
Very interesting question- Meridian Rose and I always envisioned the staircase as going up, and the reason you can't see the whole thing is because the clouds obscure it. It had never crossed my mind that the staircase may be going down! Thanks for sharing. Angela & Meridian Rose
I am 51, and I picture myself going up. I think it's because I see changing as something that is hard, and I feel like I will have to climb a long staircase that I can't see to the top of in order to get out of the hole I've dug myself into.
I'm 53 yrs old and I pictured myself at the bottom of the stairs going up. I never imagined anyone would see it differently!
I pictured going up, probably because going up is harder because sometimes one of my 62 year old knees hurts. :)
I love the quote! I am at the bottom starting up. And I am 61 so it is not age related. I see a towering staircase circling up to the heavens. I love the image. Myster, romance, adventure!
When I got today's email, it really struck me. I'm 32, but I've always envisioned being at the bottom of the stairs and working my way up. It never occurred to me to look down the stairs- that sounds so much more doable! After all, from a military standpoint, isn't the higher elevation considered the more powerful position? Imagine how I'll be able to overcome my current frustrations and challenges by simply imagining myself looking down on them instead up at them! Janice
My mental stairs go up. Always have, since I first read that quote from Flylady, where she paraphrased Dr King. But I think when she paraphrases it, she says something about 'not seeing the top step.
Wow! eye opener...I always "look" up, but I am a stair taker, hate elevators and love the trip down, even jumping the last few steps sometimes (that's the kid in me)...thanks for changing our POV! Lara and "Sweetie"
I envisioned the steps going down also. I am between you and young when it comes to age.
Thank you for the inner kiddies. Janie
I thought about going up. I am a weakling! See when you go DOWN the staircase you can fall and there are people trying to knock you over and when you climb you can just take yourself to the side and let people go around you. I resent gravity forcing me to be inelegant! Maybe I should realize that the gravity is there to help me just float on down? But I like the idea that gravity is helping to make me strong as I take baby steps one at a time as I go at my own pace. C
It was fun reading all the different comments and it gave me a lot of time to think about why I imagine going down. It’s not profound. Growing up, my bedroom was upstairs (I wrote about that room in The Happiness File) and when I’d wake up in the morning I could hear my parents in the kitchen and smell breakfast cooking. They were always happy and laughing and enjoying each other and I could never stay in bed very long listening to the fun downstairs that was going on without me. So today, when I take that first step in faith, not seeing the whole staircase I know it’s going to be fun! Thank you Mom and Dad!