"The Spiritual Staircase — Chapter Four"

Wednesday, March 25, 2020. 12:24 AM.

Phoebe: “Mark, would you be willing to walk me home?”

Mark: “Yes, Phoebe. It would be an honor and a privilege and a joy to walk you home.” And so, Phoebe and Mark got up from the park bench at Social Park and began walking together.

Phoebe: “We just moved into our new home a week ago.”

Mark: “And where is your new home, Phoebe?”

Phoebe: “It’s on Sweet Avenue.”

Mark: “I grew up on Sweet Avenue. Which house is it?”

Phoebe: “The house on the corner of a little hill called Stanley Avenue.”

Mark: “We lived on the property directly across the street from that house at the corner. Our grandmother owned the property. At first, we lived on the 3rd floor of the tenement house. And then, when I was 9 years old and mom had just given birth to my sister Lisa, our parent’s fifth child, we moved into a house in the back that had been converted from a long row of garages into a 7-room house. And I have a special memory of that corner of Sweet and Stanley Avenues where your new residence is located, Phoebe.”

Phoebe: “Oh . . . what is your memory of that corner, Mark?”

Mark: “There was a hurricane when I was young. We were living in the third-floor apartment, still. I was looking out the window that overlooks the driveway, with a clear view of the corner of Stanley and Sweet Avenues. There was a telephone pole there at the corner; and the strong hurricane winds blowing that day broke the power line. And the live wire kept hitting the ground; and sparkling electricity was making a zapping sound again and again and again every time the live wire touched the earth. I had never seen that before. It was an impressive sight for a young boy. Now I’m thinking of two songs as I remember that scene, Phoebe.”

Phoebe: “What songs, Mark?”

Mark: “The first one is “Four Strong Winds.” It’s a sweet and sad song about two people who are separated physically; but, perhaps connected still by their love for each other. I just want you to know, Phoebe, before you hear the song, that I don’t want to be separated from you. I just want to be seeing you and saying from my heart that I love you, again and again and again.”


Phoebe: “And what is the other song?”

Mark: “The other song is: “Lightning Strikes.”

Lightnin’ Strikes LOU CHRISTIE (with lyrics)

Phoebe: “Mark, are you trying to frighten me by this song about lightning striking again and again and again? Can you stop yourself?”

Mark: “I’m not trying to frighten you, Phoebe.  And, yes, I can control myself.”

Phoebe: “Who are you, Mark?”

Mark: “I’m a believer in the Lord Jesus. And Jesus my Savior is full of grace and truth.”

Phoebe: “About the word lightning: I remember reading in my Bible that Jesus said: “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” -Matthew 24:27. NIV. And in another place in the Bible it is written: “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became as dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” -Matthew 28:1-10. NIV.

Phoebe: “What about that, Mark?”

Mark: “That is a quotation from the gospel concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His resurrection.”

Phoebe: “Amen. And the gospel of Christ is the word of God and the sword of the Spirit.”

Mark: “Amen. That is true.”

Then He Kissed Me | The Crystals | Lyrics ☾☀

Phoebe: “What do these romantic songs have to do with God and the gospel and our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Son of Man, the Son of God?”

Mark: “Well, Christians are to love their neighbor, too.”

Phoebe: “Yes, but, this romantic love is more than simply love for one’s neighbor.”

Mark: “True.”

Phoebe: “Is that all you have to say about it, Mark?”

Mark: “Well, when a Christian loves his wife, he cleaves to her. And in that cleaving his heart must open to her; and in that opening to her in marriage and godly love is the working out of God’s will and His instruction to His children.”

Phoebe: “What instruction to His children are you referring to, Mark?”

Mark: In Psalm 24 it is written, beginning in verse 7: “Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty — he is the King of glory.” -Psalm 24: 7-10. NIV Study Bible.

Phoebe: “Anything else?”

Mark: “I’d like to have someone special in my life.”

Phoebe: “What do you mean by special, Mark?”

Mark: “Someone special as a wife is special.”

Phoebe: “And what is so special to you about a wife?”

Mark: “A wife is someone who is closer than a friend, closer than a neighbor.”

Phoebe: “Closer in what way?”

Mark: “Close enough to confide in and be really honest with; someone to be truthful with — and who is like that with me. And someone who is just here with me; so that I’m not living all by myself anymore; someone whose presence in our apartment is a like a fireplace burning gently and giving warmth and light to the room and making me thankful and appreciative of being home with her; and appreciative of hearing the sound of her voice when she speaks; and appreciative of those times when our eyes meet as we are speaking to each other; and someone to take a walk with. And you know what else seems like something special to me?”

Phoebe: “What is it, Mark?”

Mark: “Well, I play solitaire a few times a week. And well, I know this is going to sound funny . . . but sweet and funny, I believe. I imagine it would be sweet to play solitaire with my wife.”

Phoebe: “How would playing solitaire with your wife be sweet to you, Mark?”

Mark: “Well, this is how I imagine it: My wife would play solitaire on her side of the table. I have a Task Table. And I would play solitaire on my side of the table. We would be facing each other as we play our individual games. And there would be music playing in the background as we played. And we might say a few words to each other as we play. And, maybe, we could stop and dance a slow dance together as a sweet song, maybe a love song, is playing. And we might have a cup of tea on the table to sip as we play solitaire.”

Phoebe: “And what song do you imagine listening to while you and your wife are playing solitaire, Mark?”

The Seekers – I’ll Never Find Another You (1964, HQ STEREO)

Phoebe: “That is so sweet, Mark.”

Mark: “And it is so sweet, Phoebe, that you live on Sweet Avenue. It was sweet for me to have grown up on Sweet Avenue. I wonder if it would be sweet for us to get married and to live together on Sweet Avenue? One of the first 45 rpm records I remember mom bringing home from her shopping trips and giving to me to play on our little black Victrola phonograph on top of the TV in the livin groom, I mean living room, was “Honeycomb” sung by Ricky Nelson. The following version is by Jimmie Rogers.

Jimmie Rodgers – Honeycomb ( 1957 )

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine

Somewhere, My Love (Lara’s Theme from “Dr. Zhivago”)

Mark: “Phoebe, I just had another sweet thought.”

Phoebe: “What is it, Mark?”

Mark: “Well, I was imagining if we were married and we moved into the very same apartment where I lived the first 9-and-a-half years of my life – until we moved down to the house in the back yard on Saturday night, the night before Mother’s Day in 1961 . . .”

Phoebe: “And what if we did?”

Mark: “Well, I don’t know . . . it would be like coming full circle – back to where it all began.”

Phoebe: “Are you sure you’d like to do that? It might be very overwhelming to be back there again with all those memories coming back – and at the same time being in love with your wife. It might really mix you up! Would you want to live in the Past?”

Mark: “No, I don’t want to live in the Past. I’d like to get over the Past – so I can live fully in the Present. And maybe, with my wife to talk with, I could get over the many things that are in my past that may need to be talked out — and maybe, cried out.”

Phoebe: “That makes good sense, Mark. So, it might be better for us to live in a new place.”

Mark: “And how could we find “a new place”? And where would it be, this new place for us?”

Phoebe: “Remember the lyrics of that hymn: “the Lord knows the way through the wilderness – all we have to do is follow.”?

Mark: “Yes, I remember those words.”

My Lord knows the way through the Wilderness

Mark: “Phoebe, after listening to the above song, “My Lord knows the way through the Wilderness,” I began listening to these other songs by the same family.”

I Heard My Mother Call My Name in Prayer

Are You Washed In The Blood

We’re Together Again, Just Praising the Lord By Little Valley Songs

I still Miss Someone

Mark: “Phoebe, I just noticed something very curious.”

Phoebe: “What is it, Mark?”

Mark: “In the song “Four Strong Winds” that is in this Chapter Four of “The Spiritual Staircase,” there is mention of the Canadian province of Alberta. And then, I read a little about the family that sings “Little Valley Songs [the last five songs in this post].” I read that they are in Saskatchewan, Canada — which is the province immediately east of Alberta. And my family is of French-Canadian ancestry — from Quebec. And in Beauport, Quebec, [Beauport means “beautiful harbor”] there is a town or city named Chateau Richer. It’s on the north bank of the Saint Lawrence River. And my atlas shows a big island in the Saint Lawrence River just south of Chateau Richer.”

Phoebe: “That is interesting, Mark. By the way, does this geographical information about Canada bring any song to mind?”

Mark: “Yes, it does, Phoebe.”

Phoebe: “What song are you remembering now, Mark?”

Mark: “A song by the Bee Gees called “Islands in the Stream.” And Phoebe, I just want to tell you that walking with you and being in this conversation with you is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I love you, Phoebe. And yes, another song is coming to my heart as I tell you this.”

Phoebe: “What song is in your heart about me, Mark?”

Joe Cocker – You Are so Beautiful (lyrics)

Mark: “And Phoebe?”

Phoebe: “Yes, Mark?”

Mark: “You seem like Beauport, to me, Phoebe — a beautiful harbor for my heart. And after reading all of the Hardy Boys books as a boy, I grew up wanting to live in Bayport — their hometown. And Beauport sounds very close to Bayport.

Phoebe: “Maybe Beauport and Bayport are one-and-the-same, Mark.”

Mark: “Maybe they are, Phoebe. Maybe they got married and became one beautiful harbor; maybe a spiritual harbor at the landing of a spiritual staircase in a spiritual library of beautiful spiritual love stories. For it is written for us in our Savior’s Book: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” -1 Corinthians 2:9b-10a. NIV Study Bible.


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