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Tuesday
Jul212009

I Love Bridges

I love bridges. They are an everyday miracle. When I find myself at the brink of a river or lake, I feel stumped by the challenge of getting across. I can see the other side but this water thing looks too deep and dubious to dare plunge into, besides the annoying fact that I will get wet and muddy if I do.

But someone, or more likely lots of somebodies knew that one day people like me would want to get across. So they got out their timber and nails, and architectural knowledge and set to work. I myself have never built a bridge, and my basic understanding of how you do it when the water is deeper than your neck is wobbly. But I like that I can get there, treading safely on the labor of people I can never really thank, using materials that I did not buy.

Marriage often plunks us on this side of a river. Perhaps we are feeling ornery and disconnected to our partner, and the people on the other side look much more friendly and as if they understand marriage better than I do. Maybe they will wave to me and call over that yes indeed their side of the river is much nicer, with green meadows and wild raspberry bushes ripe for picking. But I am on this side and the only thing I can find to eat is leaves.

People have gone before me in the marriage education world. They have found designs and materials that hold up under heavy wear. They have taken enormous chunks of time to build bridges so that I can cross. I am beholden.

Sometimes people who have successfully crossed even come back to hold my hand and encourage me, telling me that the bridge is safe, even if it sways in the wind. There is a part of me that stands frozen where I am, but the part of me that longs to cross over thaws my terror.

Once I was facing a small bridge with my children, and noticed that my son's trust was wider than my fear. He grabbed my hand and pulled. The jiggling of the ropes and the creakiness of the boards only added to his sense of adventure. We made it to the other side, and then just for fun he pulled me back and forth again.

He loved knowing he could do it.

I wonder if I can too.