While in Kraków this summer, we toured the Wawel Royal Castle and Cathedral. Kraków was not on my bucket list to see, but only because I knew nothing about it. Now I proclaim: everyone should visit Kraków! So much history; so much beauty.
Recently, I wrote a post titled “Lesson from the Dragon of Kraków.” To reach his statue, you have to walk down a steep, stone, uneven, damp, spiral staircase for hundreds of steps before finally reaching the dragon’s lair. Not a vacation experience for someone claustrophobic! It seemingly will never come to an end. Even though that horrible experience terminates with a fire-breathing dragon, he is a welcome relief!
Other outdoor ways exist for reaching the dragon, but where there is no pain, there is no gain. If there is no struggle to reach the dragon, there is no relief being in his presence.
A similar experience awaits at the Bell tower. Of the three towers above the Cathedral, one contains the humongous Sigismund Bell. Sigismund I, King of Poland, commissioned the bell in 1520. It takes twelve strong men, six on each side, to ring the bell. To reach the bell, one must climb a labyrinth of dark and narrow wooden staircases in the bell tower of Wawel Cathedral. There is no easy way to helicopter in! The apex of the tower has a platform beneath the bell with a beautiful view of Kraków. With the city before me and the 13 tons of the Sigismund bell above me, the dreamlike experience, caused me to ponder how we sometimes need to go through the dark and claustrophobic experiences (physical, emotional, spiritual) in order to reach the light. It does require effort and perhaps pain to accomplish goals in this life. Physical fitness helps to make the climb easier. In fact, a poster warned those not physically fit should not attempt the climb.
We need to build our spiritual muscles for the trials we all experience in life. By being spiritually fit, the climb over life’s problems becomes easier. If we have not developed a prayer life and are unfamiliar with the scriptures, the difficulties of life become much more difficult to bear. God has promised He will never leave us or forsake us: “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Tradition suggests – if you touch the clapper with your right hand, you will have good luck and love. If you touch it with your left, you will be lucky with money issues. If you touch with both hands you get both. The moral: if you reach the top and can touch the clapper, you will be rewarded. Likewise, spiritual preparation equips you to leap the hurdles of life.