There is a staircase at our church that was put in two years ago when we completed an addition to the building. I call it the grand staircase. It’s made of wide wood steps with spaces in between and it allows a great openness is a high traffic space. There are brushed metal handrails going down both sides. I use this staircase every Sunday with a group of children taking them from one of our worship services to the area where we hold Children’s Worship. I run my hand down the handrail almost every single time. This Sunday, one of the little girls with me told me she had to hold on because she had little heels on and she didn’t want to fall down. I told her that was a wonderful idea because I didn’t want her to get hurt either and then walked ahead of her down the stairs, holding the handrail, glancing behind every few steps to be sure she was doing alright.
Later that morning, I walked back up those stairs, again sliding my hand along the handrail and an interesting thought crossed my mind. I wondered how many people, just that morning, had touched that long piece of brushed metal? How many weak hands leaned on it for support? How many little hands pulled on it to take the next step up? How many wrinkled hands held it while they rested on the landing? Or strong hands held it out of habit? How many hands have held that rail on the day their child was baptized? Or taken pictures there on their wedding day? How many have gripped that before the funeral of a loved one?
My mind wandered further. This simple piece of metal has probably been touched by more people in the past two years than I could imagine. And what each person was going through or feeling at that time is immeasurable. People that were seeking guidance, needing prayers, suffering losses, celebrating joys, doubting their faith, holding on to regrets, or in any other place on the scale of human emotions that we experience in this earthly life. In those times, that handrail was strong and provided support, help, or just something of comfort they held on to. It’s something we all use, but likely overlook.
Proverbs 3:5 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding.” That’s what came to mind when I was pondering the many hands on that rail. It’s so much like our Lord. We can lean on it, like we can lean on Him. We seek it out when we need it, but may not pay attention to the times we brush against it on a regular basis just out of habit. It’s can help when we are going up or down. It’s there, just like Him, whether we notice or not, in the good times and the celebrations as well as the struggles. And it connects so many people who don’t even realize it, just like our faith does.
I will still run my hand along that hand rail every time I go up or down. But I think it will mean a bit more to me now. Sometimes it’s just the simple things placed in our days that remind us of God’s presence.
Holding the handrail,