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Life as Rope Bridge

Ya know those rope bridges? The wobbly, questionably constructed contraptions that seem an unreliable means of traversing a usually-dangerous span? Often the sides have gaps large enough for a rhino to slip through with one misstep. Ya know? You take a step and the whole bridge jiggles? Some of us stride confidently across, moving fast enough to overpower the sway with our steps, hearts racing. Others take ginger steps, then wait until we feel planted again to take another, swaying until we stop and settle yet again, gut churning. If you're even mildly afraid of heights, the overall effect is magnified. The seeming certainty of death looms. Halfway across, you wish you'd never ventured out. It can be fun, too, of course. Really fun. Especially when you're confident you will not go careening into the jaws of the jagged chasm below. Kersplat. Life can be a little like a rope bridge sometimes. Especially now.

There are the fun kind of rope bridges, built for amusement, at those treetop obstacle parks like the one up the road from me. In that scenario, you're only about 10 or 20 feet off the ground, and you're always hooked into a trusty carabiner and belay for safety's sake. Sometimes there's even a net. Still, it can be pretty scary, especially if the place is a little homespun.

Then there are the National Geographic kind. They're usually in the remote, wonderful wilderness, far from solid steel and concrete construction...Or prompt medical care. The "coolest" ones cross a breathtaking gorge. There's one in Switzerland that's more than 1600 feet above ground! Then there's one in Nepal (can't you just picture the Sherpas?), is routinely used by local villagers who even herd their livestock across its ancient range. They have to use the rope bridge to get where they need to go.

If you tend to be afraid, the whole carabiner-belay thing helps--assuming you're anchored to something or someone trustworthy and reliable. Well-engineered bridges that are more steady--like the one in Switzerland--make the whole experience more reassuring, too, as are strong materials. It helps if someone goes ahead of you to show you it's ok. If you're like a Nepalese farmer, and you know the terrain well, know generations of kin have crossed the bridge safely, have used it yourself for a long time, and in general, the bridge is super-familiar to you, well, that all helps a lot.

I've had a lot of rope bridge experiences in my life. Journeys across uncertain spans. Choosing to give birth to Isaac with Down syndrome is the most memorable and rewarding. Leaving a profitable career was wobbly for sure. Walking away from certain people, places and things sure seemed like a , threadbare bridge. Some days, teaching high school definitely has that very same shaky feeling. The bad butterfly, breath-catching kind of uncertainty. Thankfully, it only lasts a tiny spell these days, because I know the bridge. The Bridge is...

  • Trustworthy

  • Reliable

  • Decidedly competent

  • Incredibly strong

  • Super-steady

  • Well-traveled and true

  • Intimately familiar

  • And loves me (but that doesn't work with the whole bridge metaphor)

Metaphors aside, do you know The Bridge? In these uncertain times, it's good to know what's on the other side of all this, especially if it promises to be scenic and spectacular. Mostly, though, we can't know what's coming. Not at all. So it's really, really good to know The Bridge is solid, even when it doesn't feel that way. And that He's bringing us someplace good.

Well, I've worn that metaphor out for tonight.

Remember: God loves you no matter what.

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