Oh, my friends. My heart aches this morning.
For so many reasons.
But mostly because my friend is hurting.
So to her, my fellow builder of bridges, and to all of you, I write the following.
My sweet friend,
I’m so sorry.
It is no secret that we will, at times, have radically different viewpoints. That we will turn conversation to confrontation because we are slow to holster our guns, armed as they are with years of hurt and pain and anger and desperation to be heard.
Because we hold with everything we are to the belief that the totality of our experiences to this very moment validates our prejudice – our Pre-Judgement – of one another.
Because we square off and hunker down and find different words to fight tired old battles.
Because it is terrifying to trust when trust has done us wrong so many times before.
And when it explodes into anger and it churns up the fear and the hurt and the desperation, and we shake and tremble and watch whatever hope we had left crumble into dust, we walk away — for the sake of self-preservation, we walk away — wondering if there will ever be a way to truly walk together. Not to agree to disagree as it were, but to find what we DO agree upon – to dig and scrape and scour until … Voila! … a single truth, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, emerges and we can all hold it to the light and declare it absolute.
Some days, I wonder if it’s possible at all. Or if, perhaps, I am — we are — simply idealists – striving for something that can never really be attained.
And then I do this.
I google images of bridges. Suspension bridges, to be precise. Small ones, big ones, rickety bamboo ones and strong and sturdy iron ones.
Why? Because they never cease to startle and amaze me. Because never do I lose the initial moment of awe and wonder when I look at one of these marvels of engineering and tenacity and imagination and think, By God, someone looked at that divide and said, WE CAN BRIDGE THAT.
And someone laughed. Because someone always does. Or scoffed. Or chided or dismissed or ignored or simply walked away from the raving lunatic who stood before them saying, “No matter how deep this valley nor high these trees nor treacherous the waters below, we can create a connection.”
And as I look from the other side of history’s lens, I am buoyed by hope because they DID. Because they didn’t care who called them what, who laughed or scoffed or chided or dismissed or ignored or walked away. Or maybe they did, maybe they shook and trembled and cried and raged — maybe they internalized every word; but they did it anyway. And isn’t that something? That they BELIEVED that there was a way from here to there and back again and they knew that someone had to build it. And they knew that they were that someone. They knew that we are ALL that someone.
And what amazes me even more is that so many of them began to build those bridges knowing that they would never walk them. They knew — they trusted — that the work would continue far past their lifetimes. And it didn’t matter that they wouldn’t see it completed. Because one doesn’t ask the timeline when the goal is so worthy of pursuit.
So, my friend, when the divide seems insurmountable, when you’re shaking and angry and sad, google bridges with me, won’t you?
And let’s be the someone who builds one.