www.TheLadders.com- Ladder to Heaven – A Short, Funny Story
“The other night I dreamed that I had died and gone to Heaven. At the Pearly Gates I was met by Saint Peter who told me if I wanted to enter the gates of Heaven I must climb that ladder one rung at a time.
On each rung I must write a sin that I committed during my life while on earth. He then gave me a piece of chalk. I started, writing, climbing, writing, climbing; hanging on with one hand and writing with the other is a difficult task for someone who does not like heights.
All of a sudden, something was crushing the fingers of my holding hand. I looked up, and there, much to my amazement, was my boss coming down the ladder for more chalk.”
I was unsure of myself and didn’t trust my feelings. To believe what I felt was real I had to pass my feelings through a maternal elder. It was life “flung down the rung.”
I was dangling at arm’s length from a steel umbilical cord, naming emotions, joys, pains and smiles based on her reactions. Flung down the rung meant expressing the ‘right’ feelings were contingent on mother’s nods welded in “rungs,” or steps of emotional stability and maturity. The rungs went on and on; I looked for red or yellow signs that would indicate I could pause and try naming my feelings myself, but I only saw green lights.
The level of my emotional tank was determined on a curve, watching for trickles of affection in different directions while scrambling to gather spillovers. Perhaps love is needed to fully accept another, but love in its pure form did not matter to me at all. Never mind unconditional love; I would have settled for a firm rung of unconditional acceptance.
My equilibrium often teetered from blocking out questionable signs of truths and affirming voices in other places- they could not be trusted. Existence was intertwined with unpredictability dressed as normal; manipulations as helpful engagement. If she was ok, I was ok and could be positive and felt validated. If she was not having a good day, I froze and could not look up; even if I felt good and positive. Lacking an emotional anchor, I learned to pace and clear my thoughts by encouraging myself.
For some reason, reflecting negatively on my youth left me with an odd sense of betrayal and disorientation. But why is this? My youth is my youth, it is the only one I had. It is an absurd double whammy against one’s self, a harmful disillusionment to believe one is inherently flawed. But where does the betrayal come from? Where is the root?
Spreading apart the thready ends of the cord on the ladder, I can see that I have positioned a condition of negativity and self-doubt a priori to my existence. Looking further up, I can just make out why. Negative feelings were falling down the rung on top of me. The feelings were not falling from the sky, but from the elder I treasured the most and loved with all of my being- the maternal “source” of my existence.
Snipping the cord, I see the threads keep getting darker. Through the passing rungs, some positive experiences with an overwhelmingly large number of negative experiences are intertwined. A separate thread, in contrast, is blindingly white indicating Existence. Existence is a priori to practical life experiences and negative acts like betrayal. Existence is a very good state of being. Stretching the cord, I see Existence runs concurrently with Betrayal, but Betrayal is posterior to human conception. Free willed humans with inestimable worth and dignity commit acts of betrayal after their birth.
All is well- I can now see myself upright as a frayed, ugly cord falls at lightning speed down the dark abyss. The rest of the rungs are balanced, sturdy and solid.