Many people say, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Indeed, bridges are hard to cross until we reach them. We can see them ahead of us and plan for the journey, however, it is hard to know what the bridge will actually look like until we take the first step.
Bridges come in small, medium, and large sizes. Some can be seen beforehand while others come up suddenly without warning. These latter bridges can shake us to our core. We may need to step back and take a breath before stepping tentatively forward. As we walk, we gain confidence. Everything in our lives has prepared us. If we keep our eyes forward and don’t look down, step by step we will get to the other side. As we stand on the shore and look back, we smile and breathe. Though the journey was shaky, we did it! We walked our bridge!
The other bridges, the ones that loom for days or months before our eyes are harder to cope with. We worry, point the bridge out to others, avoid it, and even turn around so we don’t have to see the thing.
Sometimes, we make bridges bigger than they really are! Physical bridges help us to cross over and likewise, psychological bridges do the same. We stand in one spot, look at our situation, fear moving until we have to, then reluctantly take the necessary course.
What if we realized that life is totally made up of bridges? We are constantly moving from one to another. There are moments of solid ground, moments of looking back and assessing our past, moments of pause, and moments of preparing and looking to the future. However, there are many more moments of walking the bridge.
Bridges are transitional and transformational. If we never encountered one, we would remain stuck and in one spot. The question is, how do we handle our bridges? Curse them? Blame them for being in our way? Run away? Blow them up? Or do we climb our bridges with joy and excitement?
In February 2020, before the pandemic, I had the opportunity to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia. I didn’t wake up that morning and say, “Hmm, today, I’m climbing the 75-story bridge”. No, I prepared. For three months, I climbed the stairs in my apartment building. From the first to the fourth floor are 55 steps. In order to equal the Sydney Harbor Bridge, I had to climb the stairs 25 times. I started out small. Three times a week at three flights one time up and down. Little by little, week by week, I increased until the week before, I accomplished the climb in 50 minutes with relative ease.
I bring this up, because, my desire to climb the bridge was bigger than my fear. It’s hard, as a blind person, to climb such a massive structure and not even know what it looked like. However, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’m proud of the baseball cap that says, “I climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge.”
We all have bridges. We have to want to cross them, believe we can cross them, commit to the process of crossing them, and, of course, celebrate the journey. You can bet, when we were at the top, we all (the 20 of us on the tour) let out the loudest “woohoo!” you ever heard. I challenge you to step boldly onto your bridge and cross it in joy. Life is an adventure (a bridge), of brilliance and beauty. Grab your belay rope and climbing gear and change the way you see and change the way you live.