They connect us and take us places. We use them daily to get to where we want to be, or maybe away from where we don’t. Without them, we would have far less or more difficult access to just “getting around”. I suppose ferries and other means of traversing waterways, valleys, and chasms would be in much higher demand.
The photo above is of one of my favorite, taken several years ago. Not because the bridge itself is spectacular, but this photo reminds me of a place where I spent a great amount of time; running, going on walks and hikes, riding my bike, and even rollerblading with family and friends. Good conversations, hard conversations. Being all by myself, or sometimes in a throng of others. Early in the morning to late at night. Just seeing that photo takes me back to a multitude of memories! I’ll share some photos of other bridges, which have collected on my phone through the years. It’s likely you may recognize at least one, while some of the others will definitely be obscure. There’s a duplicate or two as well, taken at different times and from different angles. Some of my favorite bridges I’ve seen are the covered bridges in New England. I was able to photograph several, but sadly those are stored away on a flash drive somewhere and not easily accessible to me at the moment.
Bridges are not just used in a literal sense for walking on, driving on, etc. They are often used in metaphor. “Building bridges” – all about connecting with others. “Burning bridges” – very much the opposite. “Bridging the gap” – helping people connect ideas or minimize their idealogical differences. “Crossing the bridge” – coming to see a different perspective. “On the bridge” – stuck between two ideas. Bridges are used in song, and people name movies after them. People speak of them in speeches and leadership conferences. People even explain the gospel with them. Okay, well…at least the salvific part of what is often referred to as the gospel.
I am, it seems, in no way the only one who has a thing for bridges.
I’ve been thinking lately of how people have often been the “bridges” in my life – connecting me to experiences that I would otherwise simply not have. Some have been good friends. Others, I’ve barely known. I’m feeling a bit of nostalgia and regret as I think about how I’ve “walked on” and even “run over” some of those people. Not just walked with or run alongside – how I wish I could say that is true. But rather, I used them for my own gain to get me where I wanted to go. I am sorry.
Where I wanted to go hasn’t turned out to be nearly as important as those people I met along the way.
Some of them, thankfully, have turned out to be lifelong friends – even in spite of my short-sightedness and selfishness. Some of them, I’ve simply lost. There’s some grief and catharticism in simply acknowledging that.
A few months ago, I returned back to the area where I lived during most of my childhood and teenage years, and then again with my young family for several years. I am known here in some circles – in some ways. I’m not known for who I am. Not really. I’m known for who they once knew me to be. Depending on which season of life they know me from, that can be a far different person! It is a peculiar thing to be so familiar with where I find myself, and yet so unknown. It makes me unsure of myself, of my place. I am endeavoring to rebuild or strengthen bridges into some of the same parts of the community where I’m known, while also wanting to build connetions into some new areas as well. It’s challenging!
This blog itself has proven to be a bridge for me. As someone who has become very anti-socials, I still desire to have a “voice”. Even when I was pretty into the socials, I began this blog with the hopes of connecting people and connecting with people. Through the comments I’ve received here, I’ve had opportunity to travel into new places, through the eyes of others – creatives, writers, poets, and all of them thinkers and fellow sojourners. I’m grateful!
This blog has also become a mental bridge for me – a connecting my creative / metaphorical way of thinking and approaching the world with my more rational, methodical self. That helps me be more integrated on a holistic level, which has layers and layers of benefits!
You’re right, I recognized one bridge. 🙂 And I know all too well what it feels like to be known not for who I am right now but for whom people knew me to be in the past. It’s a huge block in the road to building bridges. I wish you well in your journey and I’m glad to walk alongside for awhile.
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