Bridges

10 12 2010

There it was right in front of me – a way…maybe the Way…this Appalachian Trail bridge stretching over the James River. The day was moving toward twilight and I was tired, but curiosity and an inward challenge held me on the wooden landing longing to cross to the other side? A simple hike and a bridge across the James became a parable for my life.

The bridge, inviting me deeper into its patterns – shadows converging into a single point, as if pointing the way – a straight path luring me to lush greenery on the other side. But for now, I am captivated by perspective, design, and shadows. I am not sure I want to move…and with honesty, I must say, I am not sure I want to give the energy to make the “long journey” (my perspective) to the other side. I really can’t see what is beyond the bridge’s end anyway – maybe it is not as pretty as it looks. So I remain paralyzed in perspective, design, and shadows – full of longing and images of a wooded promise land…full with what could be.

I stand…paralyzed. Why is it that what’s in sight seems so far away? Why does my longing lack feet to move and my hope afraid to take flight? Here I stand, on this side of the bridge, giving more heed to the whispers of fear; being persuaded by doubt – conjuring up scary demons and monsters – giving them more authority each minute I entertain their presence…wanting me to dwell with them in the wasteland of despair. I stand with shadows and in the complex designs of my life saying, “It sure looks pretty over there,” not a smidgen conscious of the choice I have to take a step in the direction of my desires.

This moment becomes an invitation to cross a bridge not of wood or steel, but of faith, grace, redemption, and into deeper intimacy with God; an invitation to let go of what I so desperately try to control and to trust God to be God; an invitation to walk through shadow and darkness one step at a time.

It can be scary – fear has a loud voice with excellent persuasive powers. But God does not give us a spirit of fear. God has made the paths straight. God is working on our behalf even when we are not sure of God – when we can’t see God. As we take a step – one at a time – perspective changes and we experience unbelievable sights…insights – insights we would not have known if we hadn’t began the movement across the bridge…even in the presence of demons and monsters. I feel the soft winds at my back…encouraging me to take a deeper look…speaking to me, “Just take one step.”  And when I do, I find fear and doubt giving way…they were smokescreens veiling my eyes from Truth. Hope – which has always been present – bathes me again. I gain confidence and assurance with every step I take. I do not focus on the shadowed path, but my gaze is fixed on the Creator of the path…promised land…the other side of the bridge.

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2 responses

14 12 2010
Marsha Garrison

I love how your stories make a hard to grasp spiritual truth touchable. “Faith is like…putting your weight on the downhill ski when you’re speeding down the mountain.” Sort of reminds me of another story teller….

15 12 2010
Marsha Garrison

oops. this comment was intended for the post On the Mountain, Greg. perhaps it can be adapted for Bridges–faith is like…stepping onto a bridge bathed in shadow and darkness….

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