Bridges and Fears

As we walked on Sunday afternoon before last  …
around the bend and over the hills,
Ellice told us stories from the past
and she showed us property lines.

Towards the end of the adventure,
we came to a “new” old bridge.
There was a time not so long ago when the property was leased to a farmer.
Having no way for his workers to get from one side of the creek to the other,
he built a bridge.
The framework is quite sturdy … but it looks …. unfinished??

I would like to think that the farmer built it for his workers and for their vehicles.
I would guess that somewhere along the way, the laborers made it work for them to pass on foot
and the farmer never took the time or expense to finish the project.
His farm hands rigged it to be “good enough”
and the farmer was content with that.

Ellice is the more cautious of the three of us on that afternoon walk. She stood with hands-on-hips at the edge of the crossing and said she would go no further. But, I asked if I could get a closer look. Julie and I stood there inspecting. To be honest, I wanted to be daring and walk across the expanse. If I fell in …. all I would – probably – get was wet.
But, I couldn’t bring myself to try.
Julie and I discussed how this bridge is represented in our lives.

Each of these planks is  P.L.E.N.T.Y  wide to easily walk upon.
If we were to pick up the board and move it to the ground,
any one of us could walk across the board,
run across the board,
dance, skip or twirl across the board
without a foot missing a step.
Most likely, you nor I would lose our balance and find ourselves
lying on the ground.

The only change between a 10″ walking path laid upon this scantily formed bridge
and a 10″ board on the stable ground
is perception.
Well ….. a.l.m.o.s.t.

These boards were haphazardly placed upon the cross beams of this structure.
Some of the boards overlapped on the ends.
Rather than offering more stability, this placement decision made the boards all-the-more unstable.
Moving from one end to the other of each board,
transferring weight from one side of the board to the other
would cause the boards to adjust, rock and tip.

But, even if the wooden boards were bolted to the frame of this traverse,
there is still the aspect of depth perception.
It is much more difficult for most people to trapeze across a 10″ board that spans a ravine
than it is to walk the same board that is laying flat on the ground.

With the path suspended across a gully,
we are much more aware of the danger
should we fall.
On the ground, we have little to risk.
Tightroping high above open water,
we have more to lose.

And so important to that movement ….
if we look at the board beneath our feet
rather than the great expanse below it,
we are much more likely to stay balanced
and move with ease.
We discussed the spiritual/physical parallels that apply to our lives. 

We often want to move from one place to another,
but we are afraid of the fall.
There is risk in taking each step.
With each consecutive step, our own weight can shift the structure beneath us.
Some of the planks beneath us may, in fact, rock and tip.
But, to reach our destination, we must be brave … and keep moving.
We must keep our focus on the next step, not the depth of the gully below us.
We must ask ourselves, “Is the destination worth the risk?”
Because, we may in fact fall.
But, chances are, the fall won’t really injure us …
just leave us soaked to the skin.

I want to be more brave.
I want to take more risks.
I want to be courageous to do that which looks risky
without worrying about what other people think about my journey.

I have realized that my desire to cross the bridge … and reach the other side
must be greater than my fear of getting wet.
I’m working on this
and God is working on this in me
and encouraging me along the way (with gifts like this).
Soon, I plan to write about some of my fears.
How about you?  What bridges are you afraid to cross?

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