Yes, in life we are either going up, going down, or not moving! Just like a mechanical elevator. Today, like every day, you and I stand ready to make a decision at the entrance of our life experience elevator. 

This reminded me of my time at U of Alaska, Fairbanks, in 1966. It took weeks to get an appointment with the president. Finally, I was able to say, “Doctor, are you going to allot me the 10 scholarships you promised when I committed to this coaching job?” 

The president took control of the conversation. He talked about the challenges of the university. I was too young, inexperienced, kind, intimated to force the issue. The very tall president stood, lovingly wrapped his long arm over my shoulder, and then gently walked me to the door, avoiding a direct answer. “Coach, let me give you some advice. When you ask a question, there is only three answers: Yes, No, and I don’t know. Two of these are bad answers. Keep doing a great job; proud of you.”

In life, you and I are standing at the door of an elevator. We have hard choices to make; as my president said, there are three choices. There is an up button but also a down button. Will we push the button? Will it be up or down? Or will we stand at the door paralyzed?

  • Choice #1: Stay put and stand all day in front of the elevator door.
  • Choice #2: Push the down button and focus all day on our losses, our sadness, our grief–to the basement we might go.
  • Choice #3: Push the up button and choose gratitude, never-quit attitude, rising outlook (no matter what level we are on, even if it is below ground level one)–to the penthouse of the tallest building in the world we might go.

What is my choice? What is your choice? No one can make it for us! The challenge is knowing that pushing the up button is just the first step. The second step is getting on the elevator. The third step is pushing the button to take us to the floor we desire, a floor at a time! Each floor is a climb. Each decision upwards may seem more difficult than easy. 

It is my hope you and I climb today and experience graciousness and gratitude. If we can breathe, we can push the up button and take a ride up today… and then tomorrow… and then the day after.