I decided that I was going to walk farther than ever before along my recently discovered walking trails around the lake. I figured that I would go as far around the circle that I was allowed, and then have to double-back on my path. It would be a good opportunity to view the morning interplay of light, water, sky, birds and trees from both directions — going clockwise and counter-clockwise.
What I hadn’t accounted for was that I would be presented with an invitation at the three-quarter mark around the circle. It was lying hidden among the tall grasses, in a shallow formed by the meeting of two down-slopes on either side of a moist stream bed. Perhaps the smallest of bridges I have ever encountered — one that a tall person like me would even leap over.
The invitation of the bridge created a decision point, an opportunity. Do I abandon my original plan to double-back and experience the trail from both directions, or do I accept, cross over, complete the circle and engage a different experience in that space and time?
We often encounter such ‘bridge experiences’ in our lives. Bridges tend to hold a fascination for most humans engaged in exploration and discovery, because they represent new possibilities. A bridge need not necessarily be a physical entity – far from it. People and practices, and their ability to facilitate new connections can serve as bridges too.
In many ways, music, art, dance, painting, sewing, hiking, reading, meditating, day-dreaming, sky-watching, cloud-spotting, gardening — name your favorite — can become a bridges. When we accept the invitation of any experience that transports us into a realm that creates sustainable silence, stillness, peace, we become a ‘bridge person’, don’t we?
And yet, we often refuse the invitation of bridges. Fear and uncertainty make us reluctant to build them, to cross over them, or invite others to cross with us. We often choose to double-back and keep reworking our well-trodden paths, rather than engage the ‘new bridge’ experiences, no matter how small the leap or crossing may be. What can help us accept the invitation?
Remembrance that faith, courage and grace are our friends can help us be bridges for others. When we experience our ability to help people in small ways, we gain spiritual strength. When we accept the help of those who have crossed before us, we open our heart to the light. In making small bridge choices, we plant the seeds of bigger crossings.
We are almost home. It’s time to take the leap, to cross over. Are you ready? Let’s walk.
The smallest of bridges, can set us free…