Build a bridge

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Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Have you ever considered how amazing bridges are? I mean, think about it. An astounding amount of engineering expertise produces the construction of a bridge.

I wonder who it was that looked over a span, whether it be a stream, creek, or river, and thought, “Huh…I could just build something to arch over that.”

If I remember from a long-ago college course in western civilization, ancient Romans were builders of bridges, some of which still stand today I believe.

Here in my part of the world, wooden bridges were the norm hundreds of years ago. You can take scenic drives in my home state, as well as several others, and view covered, wooden bridges some still in use now as they were in days gone by.

A lot of the simple, uncovered, wooden bridges that crossed streams and creeks along country roads here are disappearing and being replaced by concrete spans, safety being the reason of course as those wooden structures have succumbed to wear and tear by years and weather.

Those super-long suspension bridges are the ones that boggle my mind and I thought about that in Maryland as we crossed over the Chesapeake Bay on the Bay Bridge during our summer trip there.

While we were driving upon that span, I captured a few photos,  and I thought about the thousands of cars, trucks, and other vehicles that cross bridges each and every day.

We cross without thinking of the feat accomplished in the building of that bridge. We cross trusting and assuming the bridge is completely safe and won’t collapse while we’re on it. We cross not giving a thought that hundreds of years ago, the only way to get from this side to that would have been by boat or ferry.

It occurs to me that bridges are something we take for granted in life. We assume someone will build and maintain a bridge to get us where we want to go. But shouldn’t we be responsible for some bridge building of our own?

When you and I disagree – name the reason, there are many – whether it comes to politics, religion, social causes, or just some ridiculous meme one of us posted on social media, and we resort to anger and blustering and name-calling, we’re tearing down bridges that connect us as human beings.

We stomp off either virtually and unfriend someone we once called friend or we literally stomp off in reality and never speak to the person again.

I suppose you could call it burning our bridges. But is that really a good thing to do? I don’t think so. If we are all going to attempt to live together on this planet Earth in some kind of unity or harmony, we have to learn to build bridges instead of burning them.

Building a bridge is far more constructive.  And it’s more fruitful to reach out to someone – to span across that disagreement with them – than to cut them out of your life in anger.

I’m a firm believer in what my Bible, God’s Word, tells me. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote these words to believers in Thessalonica: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). He did not say discourage those you know, tear them down with your words and deeds, incite anger and violence.

He went on to say, “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else” in verse 15.

We can use those verses in our words and actions with fellow believers and non-believers who don’t agree with us. And we can pray for peaceful reconciliation instead of angry rebuttals. It’s called bridging the gap between us.

When Jesus died on the cross, that’s what He did. He is the finest designer of bridges. With the cross, He built the most significant and greatest bridge of all  – an old wooden and rugged cross – across the huge chasm of sin, despair, and death so we could cross over it to life with Him.

It’s never too late to build a bridge. You don’t even have to be an experienced engineer to do so.

“Build a bridge by extending your hand.” ~ Ken Poirot

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Build me a bridge

blogIMG_9896When my children were young and sassy teens, they often recited a line to their siblings, whose noses got out of joint over some disagreement, and that saying always caused me to snicker to myself.

Cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it.

I laughed because that’s how I felt too. Get over it. There will always be some disparity, some disappointment, some dispute, some deviation from the easy path you wish you had.  But instead of crying your eyes out, you just have to build that bridge over troubled waters, buck up, and get over it.

I have to admit that when the good Lord handed out the quality of being merciful and empathetic, I may have skipped Sunday School that day.

But before you judge me too harshly for that, let me share that often the one I show the least mercy to is…myself. Far too often in life I’ve found myself self-admonishing to stop crying an ever-flowing river, commence bridge building, and get over those grievances that cause me anger and anguish.

But the difficult part about building bridges is this – it takes two sides. A one-sided bridge won’t get you anywhere, unless you fall off the abrupt edge and drop kerplunk into the river below. A real downer if you can’t swim.

And if the other side of the river bank just doesn’t cooperate and reach across the span of the abyss to meet you in the middle, well then, where are you? A bridge to nowhere.

Okay, sometimes I surprise myself with how my quirky mind works when I open my email inbox and find the current weekly photo challenge.  And this week’s theme – bridge – is no different. Bridge building came to my mind.

I didn’t have to search long or hard for a bridge photo in my cache. I have many because I live in an area with lots of bridges over creeks and rivers, several right here in and near my hometown and further down the river in the big city.

So just in case you happen to live where bridges are few and far between, let me bridge the gap for you with my pictures.  I vacillated back and forth while choosing which photo to use for this challenge, so I may share more bridge photos tomorrow on my Wordless Wednesday post.

Bridges. Papa and I crossed a lot of them on our recent vacation, particularly on our journey through New York’s Hudson River Valley, in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and on our way home traveling north of New York City.

On our first day of vacation we stopped along the Hudson River in New York state to see West Point Military Academy and toured its museum to satisfy my former Army man husband and history buff.

Afterwards, we crossed the Mid-Hudson Bridge to locate a spot where we could catch a nice view of the military academy from across the river and I could snap a few photos. By accident, we also found a small, shady, secluded park where we ate a quiet picnic lunch as we had the entire park to ourselves.

Driving back across the bridge again, we traveled northward to Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, which is a 19th century railroad bridge converted into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian park. That’s where I captured the photo above. 

So we not only traversed the Hudson by car, but we also crossed it on foot via that span from Poughkeepsie to Highland, NY, which is 1.28 miles in length one way. We encountered some beautiful views from that bridge and I was able to capture several nice pictures of the river and the vehicle bridge downriver from it.

Back and forth across bridges we journeyed. Easy peasy. Now if we could just transport ourselves over bridges with people as effortlessly as it is to drive or walk over steel and concrete bridges, maybe we could actually make progress.

“Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.” ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr., American author

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Thanks Giving: for bridges

bogIMG_4528Bridges.  I take them for granted.  I assume as I drive down the highways and byways in my neck of the woods, that those bridges which span from one side of the river, or creek, or lake to the other will be there so I can continue my journey.

And around these parts, we have lots of bridges because we have wide rivers to cross and an abundance of creeks as well.  Our fair city nearby alone boasts 446 such spans. 

Without a bridge, I couldn’t drive from my house to my hometown.  Without a bridge, I would not be able to cross the many creeks that zigzag through the countryside.  And without those bridges, I would not be able to visit my grown children.  Papa and I must drive across many bridges before we arrive at any of their homes.

But bridges don’t just provide a means to travel from one place to another.  They  provide a way to build relationships as well.  I’ve often read that we humans sometimes build more walls than bridges, and I, for one, would much rather be known as a bridge builder than a constructor of walls.

So on this 17th day into my 30 days of thanks giving, I’m grateful for bridges of all kinds.

“Love is the bridge between two hearts.” ~ Unknown

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com