I have always loved the phrase, “Build bridges not walls.” A bridge is an archetypal image, a metaphor for communication, possibilities and human experiences. As a metaphor, a bridge between people enables the passage of ideas; it connects those who are in different places; it transitions us from one frame of mind to another; it opens up the opportunity for people to be helped and empowered; and it reduces isolation.
Walking a bridge can be a spiritual experience. It enables a person to notice things from various vantage points not possible without it. Many bridges span vast bodies of water or deep dark gorges, places ineffably beautiful but otherwise treacherous to cross.
I am fortunate to live in a area with multiple bridges of different designs that bring people to and from the city. One of the most iconic, of course, is the Golden Gate Bridge. Almost every time I cross it, I am doing more than just getting to the other side.
Sometimes the bridge is so lost in fog that I begin to meld with the liquid gray, causing the emotional noise in my life to fade into the background of that day’s journey. At other times, when puffy clouds are serenely dancing around the towers, a great sense of playfulness enters my veins and refuses to leave. Try to get back to the reality of a workday after that! Recently fog and puffy clouds, blue sky and sunrays merged around the south tower presenting what seemed a bridge to nirvana. Boats sailed below. That beautiful orange icon did it again, taking me to places of peace, joy, challenge and adventure.
We need “bridges” between people right now in our country. We are becoming quite polarized and divided, unwilling to listen to those with different views than our own. We need to cross over metaphorical bridges that hold out the possibility of connecting one place, idea, people to another place, idea, people.
The steel and concrete bridges around us can remind us of that, as can other types of bridges. The internet, for example, is a kind of “cyber-bridge” which connects “real to virtual.”
May the concept of “bridging” as “bringing together” be lifted up in all our hearts with every bridge crossing! Let’s build bridges with the environment, between those at both ends of the wealth gap, the diverse cultures of our world, and the broad range of human gender identities so that we live on a truly beautiful, equitable and sustainable home planet!