One day, long ago (probably on a long stretch of gravelly road, riding my trusty bike), I got to pondering about the nature of life and the trials we face throughout. Life isn't easy. Good times lead to bad times, and bad times will eventually give way to good. It's a constant struggle; even those who think they are in a comfortable place are only kidding themselves.
In life, we only progress or degress. There is no plateau. As I pondered on this fact, a number of analogies jumped to my mind on how this is true in other places in life: when we stop trying, we not only stop progressing but are pulled further from our destination. Negligence on our part results in lost ground that must be made up.
As I brainstormed on this subject, I received a brilliant (and I'll admit, random) flash of inspiration.
I call it:
The Parable of the Escelator.
Imagine you are at a mall; it's big, roomy, but surprisingly dark. You see you are surrounded by a crowd of people, all of which are milling about on the bottom floor, and they all seem to be seeking a way to the second floor. You join their gaze upwards over the balcony of the second floor, and you see a dazzling, brilliant light eminating from up there. You can't even see what the second floor contains, but you know you need to get there somehow. You feel with every fiber of your being that you want to make it up to that second floor! You press forward, with a sense of urgency now, seeking a path to the warmth above. You've wandered away from the crowds now; it's dark all around you. For whatever reason, the lights in this section of the mall are out! But up ahead you see a green light, shimmering off the wall from around a corner. As the light comes into view, you see it: a beautiful, functioning escelator, humming with energy as the stairs gradually descend. What? The stairs are only going down! You look around and see that there is no other alternative, and since the light at the top is beckoning to you, you walk up to the foot of the escalator, take a deep breath...
And step on.
The moment your foot touches the escelator, a curious sensation runs up your legs. You sense, although you aren't certain, that you are no longer capable of leaving the escelator until you reach the top. As you look upward, you realize to your dismay that it only fades into darkness: you cannot see the radiant light of the second floor from here. Still, the memory and feeling of seeing that light rushes back to you, and you press forward determinedly.
As sweat starts to bead at your brow, you realize it feels like it's been an eternity on this escelator. You lift your gaze from your feet, and groan in exhaustion as you see the escalator still ascending up into dark. It's been so long. You are so tired. Surely all this work has to count for something! Legs aching, you decide to stop and rest them for a moment.
In what seems like no time at all, you find yourself back at the bottom. What?! All that time and effort, gone! You look around; still none have found this escalator, but you start to feel a little ominous from the surrounding darkness. You know that the answer doesn't lie back where you came from... So you turn your gaze back to the mechanical whir of the rolling stairs before you, and with the trace of a smile on your lips, you step back on.
We can often ask ourselves why life is so hard. Why does every day have to require us to work? Why do we keep these commandments? Why don't we get to have fun? Everyone else isn't working this hard!
We all have to face the choice of whether we are going to strive for the second floor, or sit contently in the roiling shadows beneath. There is no other way to the light than to sweat our ways up the downward moving escalator. We mustn't lose hope, and we must never give up. If we just hang in there, we'll make it to the top.