This bridge connects Portugal (on the left) with Spain (on the right). I took the picture in early June but the image has resonated in my mind for the past month and a half. One reason is that bridges, in general, are both functional and aesthetic. Usually, things are attractive but not very useful, or else they are very useful but ugly. I don’t know exactly how people used to get from one side to the other, but I’m confident it was not as convenient as this 2-minute ride across this stunningly graceful span.
A second reason the notion of “bridge” has stuck with me is that I like to see my role in life as a bridge. A bridge doesn’t force itself on anyone, but if the two sides chose to utilize it, both sides are enriched. As this second picture shows, the ride across the bridge often looks a lot different than the view from a distance, but can be very enjoyable process as well. In my counseling, I regularly link male and female ways of thinking, of talking, of dealing with conflict, etc. I like to provide a link between despair and hope, often in the form of a clearer perspective of who God is and how we can attune ourselves to His ways. I love to connect the “achieving mentality” with the “relational mentality” because they have so much to offer each other. Similarly, I get a charge out of integrating the concrete with the abstract mind. I invite your comments below on how many other ways you see people differing, like Big-picture/Detail, Do-er/Thinker, Shaper/Adapter, etc.
After writing this, I realized a spiritual perspective that provides a broader context for the ideas shared above. I am one member of a vast network of believers that the Bible calls the body of Christ.
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Each member is a bridge to many other members within the body
But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would be body be? But now there are many members, but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:18-20)
We are each gifted and networked to work together for the whole. Any ministry is a kind of bridge between supply and demand. For example, when the Christians in Jerusalem were in need of money, those in northern Greece gave abundantly with joyful hearts.
. . . that is a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints . . . (2 Corinthians 8:2-4)
Any comforting is a kind of bridge between resource and need.
[God] comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:4-5)
So ultimately, we need to be bridged to God and bridges to one another. This is one of the reasons my life has meaning and purpose and direction. I invite you to share your thoughts on bridges?