The Bridge is Fraying

I remember drawing this five years ago after I had a little dream about a little gnome/elf/spirit-being who chose to be my helper.

Sometimes lately, I feel as though the bridge can’t hold. The gulf between us is widening, and the the bridge is strained almost beyond repair. This cultural divide in the US keeps growing, keeps expanding. What words can we string together into lines and cables to hold the space between us? Or do we just give up? Wave goodbye across the chasm? Accept that we no longer have common ground? It has torn the fabric of my church, torn the roots of families and friendships, of social groups and communities.

I know I am part of the problem. My own ideals and values keep me settled on one side of the chasm. I must speak up and speak out for what I believe to be right and against what I believe to be great wrong. I can no more shift my position than I could leap into air and fly across the widening gulf. But there are places of common ground between us–I am certain of that, and I don’t know how to connect them when the space between us grows so rapidly.

What I think we need to recognize is that when we are torn apart from each other in these ways, something within us is also torn. When you and I can no longer touch or hear each other across this chasm, something within each of us also becomes unmoored, unhinged. If the bridge breaks, we all lose something of ourselves.

Gratitude List:
1. That golden moment of sun touching the snowy tops of the trees as it enters the hollow.
2. The spring songs of sparrow and wren and titmouse.
3. As frustrating as his attention is at 5 am, I love the way this little ginger cat loves me.
4. Catching up. Yesterday brought me a lot closer to being caught up.
5. The threads that hold us together.

May we walk in Beauty!

2 thoughts on “The Bridge is Fraying

  1. The hope that we can hang on to is that bridges of relationships are not constructed on one person reaching across a wide chasm alone. It’s a web (Lilliputian-style) of micro human connections one to the other, each person reaching as far as they are able to lay hold to another and do the hard work of relationship, thereby empowering that one to reach out to the other beyond our own grasp. And so it goes, many of us doing the work of sustaining relationships within our spheres of influence. But, each of us has to reach as far as we can, not remain comfortable in the ease of our personal relationships, but stretch and grow. But we shouldn’t risk our relationships, because then the whole web bridge comes down.

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    • I really appreciate this, Glo. I made that really strong statement on FB not too long ago about how I don’t want to call myself a Christian anymore because I feel a need to separate myself from what Christian has come to mean in our culture. I realize that I contribute to the fraying with moments like that. In order to maintain my internal authenticity, I sacrifice my part in holding the bridge together. I want to be part of that bridge, but I long to feel that internal authenticity again, like I felt when I was outside the church completely, when I didn’t feel responsible to reach out and help hold the bridge together. I don’t know how to be true to myself and be one of the helpers who holds the bridge. As long as I am teaching in this school, teaching these students that I love so much, I feel that it is part of my mission to help to hold the bridge.

      Your words help me to realize that I am not holding it all alone, and that in some sense of it, I am contributing to the integrity of the structure by being my authentic self. I could really use one of our long rambling talks about important things right now.

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