bridges, not jeff

My friend Deedee and I shared almost the exact phone number as kids.  We lived three hours from each other, and didn't know this fact until we met in our 20s.  That number however, was a tiny wink, a clever commonality that we enjoy.  Personally, I hoard it as treasured proof that someday we would meet and become fast and forever friends.
Because I'm dramatic.  In my opinion, these clever winks are bridges to one another.

I picture us as individuals on islands.  New relationships begin when we make small steps towards another person.  I like to picture these steps as slats of a bridge, being laid piece by piece towards one another's island.  Many things might constitute a slat of bridge being laid:  common interests, similar struggles, shared experiences, or silly tiny winks of sameness like a shared childhood phone number.  Almost anything could support a slat when you are open to the relationship.

Some bridges are built easily and quickly.  Two people click and have so much in common they feel the slats can't be laid quickly enough.  The bridge is built so fast that by the time two such people meet in the middle, they cannot remember a time it didn't exist.

Other bridges require patience and perseverance.  Sometimes we are cautious.  Maybe we've been hurt by people...maybe we've never experienced a good strong bridge.  When someone begins building one towards us, we are pleased, but surprised.  They must take their time, laying slats slowly while we learn to trust them.

Today, however, I'm not thinking so much of bridges in new relationships.  I'm thinking of damaged ones.  Bridges in broken friendships, strained marriages, frail-and-weakening paths between parents and children...these bridges are on my mind today.

Sometimes I think the problem is that we try to rebuild or duplicate bridges in hurting relationships, instead of beginning new construction with a person.  Maybe trying to patch a broken bridge is like trying to build a sandcastle with dry loose grainy sand.  It looks like it should work, but things just keep shifting and sliding out of place.

What if there is a more creative option?  Maybe rebuilding old bridges is aiming low.  Maybe some bridges are desolated, and we are better served by starting new ones with that person.  I don't picture us having only one bridge to a person.  In my mind, I see a number of a network of blood vessels or branches on a tree growing and reaching towards their goal.  Because, like the people they reach, bridges can be rich and varied, specific and personal.  There are many ways to connect with someone.  Why place all our efforts in one area?

Here is where it behooves you to believe there is something larger than you at work in the universe.  Sure, building a new bridge to a new person can be challenging.  But building with a person where bridges are decayed or even annihilated?  Well, you're not going to want to do that on your own, Honey.  Trust me.

But if we are creative, artistic and strong - and I believe we are...I think we have hope.  I believe there is someone or something(s) in the universe that helps us along.  Those forces are in the business of building from scratch.  I believe that no one knows better what bridges work to reach us than the creator of our unique hearts, minds and personalities. 

In this world, we are endlessly pursued.  Even if you cannot name it, you can feel it at times.  Something reaches towards us over and over...sings to us through the birds, whispers secrets to us in the wind, pats our backs through friends, and sometimes speaks through poetry or music that pierce our hearts, make us sit up in surprise and say, wide-eyed,"That was for ME, wasn't it?"

And it doesn't give up after one attempt at building a bridge to our hearts.  Maybe that is what we need to hear when our bridges are failing. 
We don't get only one chance,
and we don't build alone.