When I was five, I visited a Rich’s department store with my mom. While she was at the counter, I ventured over to the down escalator to check it out. An elevator was nothing new to me, but for whatever reason I wanted to explore further.
The minute I stepped on, I knew I had made a bad decision. In a desperate attempt to get back to my mom, I reached for the rounded end of the rail. My legs were still moving down, though, so I quickly became stretched out along the still-moving platforms of the escalator. I started to scream, and the grates in the steps started slicing parallel lines into my bare legs. (At least in my five-year-old brain they were slicing. There were definitely scratches.)
My mom and the saleslady quickly ran over. I was rescued, consoled and taken home, but the damage was done. Until I was 10 or 12 I held my mom’s hand anytime I approached a down escalator.
Then when I was 28 I had another escalator incident. This one involved a stroller full of coats and bags and a pile-up of moms and children dangling in the air behind me. We won’t get into the details. No one was hurt.
And so it’s with terror that I anticipate moving to Prague. What’s the link?
We won’t have a car in Prague, at least at first, and we’ll be using public transport every day. In Prague that means a combination of busses, streetcars and subways. And, in Prague, the subways are about 28 stories below street level (yes, I looked it up).
How will we get down those 28 stories? Escalators. Huge, long, steep escalators.
At 31, I think I’d be okay if it were just me riding down alone, pep-talking my feet to get them ready to navigate the dismount. But now my life involves two children, both whom will need to also get down those escalators. Sometimes on foot, sometimes in strollers, sometimes one of each. In the beginning it will be all I can do to not dwell on the horrifying image of both boys tumbling down those 28 stories.
This morning the Lord brought a ray of hope into my dread over the coming escalator reality. There is going to be a day when getting on and off a 28-story escalator is going to be second nature. I really do believe that. And on that day I will have something tangible to look at and say, “The Lord did this for me!”
I can’t wait for that day. I wish it were here. But I know that the wait will make it all the sweeter.