There was a rickety bridge over the railroad tracks below that we had to cross to get to my grandma’s house. It always freaked me out as a kid.
There were a couple bridges on the “back road” I’d take to visit my girlfriend and to class in my high school days.
There’s a bridge outside of New York that we sometimes cross going back to visit family. The deck is grated so you can see through it. Once we were stuck in traffic mid-bridge and the Elusive squeezed my hand so tightly for the duration that I became left handed for a couple days.
There’s the Link that made our Island a little closer to the rest of the world. For good or for bad.
Some bridges I’ve been on have had height restrictions. Nearly all around where I grew up had weight restrictions.
I think that’s what relationships are. Bridges. Sometimes I think that’s what they’re all about.
I was a thousand miles away from home with the youth group from our church. We’d gone to Pittsburgh for a “conference”. One night our little group of 8 was sitting under a tree and debriefing about the day. “Let’s go around the group,” I suggested, “and let’s tell everybody one thing we really like or appreciate about them.” We went around our circle and by the time we were done we were all feeling warm and fuzzy. We prayed a lovely prayer that just sort of covered the day like a cozy blanket.
Then, as we got up to go my co-leader said, “Tomorrow night we’ll share one thing that really irritates us about each person…” I looked at her to share the joke but realized right away that she was serious. She kept going, “I think if we really love each other and trust each other we can share things that bug us about each other too…how else will people grow?” I looked at her and said, “I’ll pray about it…” which is christianese for “Um, not gonna happen.” I feared that the relationships we shared in our little group couldn’t bear the weight of critical or difficult words.
I’m at a time and place in my life now that I’m pretty sure that’s actually what relationships are for. We need to invest in each other, spend time with each other, have conversations with each other, laugh with each other and at each other, share tears and share dreams, so that our relationships can become bridges for getting some truth into our otherwise fragmented world. Billy Joel sang it but it’s still true, “honesty is such a lonely word and everyone is so untrue…” We’re so afraid of hurting each others feelings that we’ve missed the point that if we love each other well, we’ve constructed bridges that can bear the weight of honesty. We’re all the Emperor at one time or another and a good relationship speaks up and suggests we might want to put something on because it can bear the weight.
Sadly, some bridges get avoided after we’ve whispered across them, “Psst. You’re naked, dude.” Some bridges even get burned. So fair warning – build bridges that can bear the weight but approach honesty with caution.