Thoughts on change, transitions, and the human fascination with bridges.
Golden Gate. Brooklyn. Tower. London.
Historically, and presently, humans are positively fascinated by the architectural structure of “the bridge.” Not only do countries revere bridges as national status symbols, but bridges dominate the postcard section of bookstores, attract tourists from thousands of miles away, and cause locals to swoon on their daily commutes.
I like bridges too; and one evening, as I ran across the rainbow bridge in Folsom, I grew curious about my own captivation with the grandeur of the crossing truss. My feet kept moving, but mentally I stopped in my tracks to ask myself: Why are we so enamored with these man-made concrete transportation enablers? I began to think…that maybe, there’s more to the bridge than its architectural structure. Or that perhaps, we gawk at bridges because they represent an inate desire.
Buster and Steph
See, what bridges do, is close a once impossible gap between two separate places. Take the San Francisco bay, for example, a hundred years ago, over 23 thousand feet of choppy waters separated Oakland and San Francisco. Hypothetically Steph Curry would have had to leave Oracle and circumnavigate the bay, just to catch up with his baseball buddy Buster Posey at AT&T park. But thanks to the bay bridge, Steph can drive his Mercedes over a double-decker,earthquake safe, well-lit corridor—watch Buster hit a home run against the LA dodgers—and still make it back in time to sink threes with Draymond Green at practice.
While I don’t intend to make this a post about the bay bridge and the Golden State Warriors, I do believe all of us must cross bridges to become more warrior like at life. Bridges are inevitable. Anytime we have a vision, or see a gap between where we are, and where we want to go, there’s a call to cross. Transitioning from student to career life is a bridge. Relocating from one town to another is a bridge. Building a relationship is a bridge. Leaving a relationship to be single is also a bridge. Breaking or starting a new habit is a bridge. The bridges we encounter every day can appear as big Brooklyn, or as small as H street, Sacramento, but regardless, the trusses of trials or changes await.
The Art of Bridge Crossing
There is no shortage of information about “how to live well” at a fixed point A, or a stable point B. But oft-neglected in schools and instruction manuals is the navigation part between the two. Even though bridges are beautiful and transformative, many times I don’t feel like crossing them. For starter’s there’s the toll and I am not guaranteed to have all the right cash or fast track passes at the ready. Then when I do enter the bridge, the fog might engulf me in, causing the other side to appear so distant that I can hardly make out a clear destination picture to satisfy my certainty cravings. But most dangerously, if I lose sight of my vision in the middle, or look down into the shark infested waters below, I risk doubting the journey entirely, and will contemplate turning back to more familiar territories.
At one point in time, the seemingly enormous distance of my own “bridges of change,” would leave me discouraged. I felt behind at life. I wanted to cry a river, build a bridge, and get over it already. But now I am learning to accept it’s the gap which will drive us to forge forward, and, significance exists in even the tiniest of steps in the right direction. I also remember that not only did the Golden Gate bridge take 4 years to build, but I’ve crossed that bridge on foot multiple times. Whether a tempo pace run or pedestrian touristy stroll, it happened by forward progression of one foot, followed by the forward progression of the other foot—a single step at a time—over and over.
The Truest Trusses
Sometimes we try to cross a bridge with our eyes closed, in denial of change. Or, we might attempt to drive at a rushed 100 miles an hour speed, clenching our teeth and simply hoping to make it to the other side alive. But in either of those bridge crossing strategies, we would miss out. In transition, the bridge serves as a special and refining location in and of itself.
Whatever the circumstance, God builds bridges with us to overcome trials and bring us to new places. As Hillsong United sings it, “He calls us out upon the water… where our trust is without borders.” Bridges may initially look like foggy corridors or fiery hoops to jump through. But more often, the life bridges are paths from the desert to the orchard; a bridge well crossed can bear much fruit.