One Bridge at a Time- Crossing Troubled Waters

I had a conversation with a friend, who follows Peace Full Home/Intentional Living, about a story I wrote called  “Crossing Bridges”.  When we talked about the post she told me that there was so much there that it would have been helpful if I had broken it down into smaller segments. As always, I honor any comments and suggestions. After re-reading “Crossing Bridges”, I understood what she was saying, so I decided to delve a little deeper into the different kinds of bridges most of us cross. I’ll begin with this week’s installment: “One Bridge at a Time- Crossing Troubled Waters”.

In 1970 Simon and Garfunkel released “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. This song, penned by Paul Simon, was one of the most performed songs of the twentieth century. The piece has a sort of gospel song “feel”, and after its release, Simon acknowledged that he was inspired by Claude Jeter of the gospel quartet Swan Silverstones. In “Mary Don’t You Weep” Jeter sang, “I’ll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in me”.

I’ve always loved the simplicity and significance of these words:

“When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
Oh when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
Oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down”

“Troubled water” means different things to different people, of course.

When we stop and look at all the tragedy, pain and suffering on our planet, we realize that many of OUR problems are insignificant compared to the majority of our world. Each morning the first thought I have is “Thank You God”, because I have so darned much to be thankful for. I know I am among the fortunate. However, in spite of knowing, and truly believing that, I fail often. I’m reminded of that failing when I look at what I’m spending energy being concerned about compared to the burdens so many others carry.  The start of today was a great example of just that.  I woke up this morning a little after 4 am and had the first cup of tea on my desk at 4:14. I know that because I was staring at the clock thinking “I really wish that I would be able to sleep well”. Then I looked at the temperature and saw that it was negative 3! My next thought was “this cold is ridiculous!” Then, my printer wouldn’t scan to my Mac.

Wow….a cup of hot tea, in a house with heat, next to a computer with a printer!  I had to sit back and say to myself one more time, “if these are the biggest issues you have today, you truly are blessed!”

Having said all that, I do believe that the struggles we do have are relative to our lives, in our world, in our time.

Crossing a bridge is very scary for many of us. That fear is heightened when what’s going on around us is a swirling, crazy mess of murkiness. To avoid the work of getting through those troubled, often uncharted, waters we often end up staying where we are instead of taking the chance to make it better.
It seems easier.
It seems safer.
It seems like there’s less chance of being lost at sea.

Those feelings are understandable. After all, we’re only human.

You may be struggling with immense loss– a loved one, a career, your health. You may be battling the past– an addiction, an upbringing where you weren’t loved, fear of failing (again). You may be preparing to make an important life change– with a  significant relationship, a new place to live, deciding to be purposeful about loving yourself (that’s a tough one for a lot of people).

Often the fear of the unknown, especially if we believe we’re in it alone, keeps us frozen where we are. We become afraid to trust that things really will get better; that we really will make to safely to the other side. We stare at the troubled waters, then back away.

If you’re in a place where your life is flowing beautifully, you may want to BE a bridge that let’s others know that they’re not alone; that you’re there for them– with love, with support, without judgement, without expectations.

How can you be a safe place for someone who’s navigating a life fraught with challenges?
How can you be that bridge over “troubled water”?

When someone is “feeling small” would you help her to see her unlimited potential?
When a person is vulnerable and timid would you be the bridge to help him recover his self-esteem?

Are you willing to take the time to really hear someone who’s alone or in pain or afraid?
Are you willing to be that bridge over “troubled water”?

When darkness comes to someone you care about are you open to “laying yourself down”?
When someone you care about is “in the dark” are you open to being the bridge to the light?

When we open ourselves up to the possibility of being a safe place to cross, a stabilizing force, a respite from the tumultuous water swirling below, we become that bridge.
We become the harbor in the storm.
We become our best selves.

Some bridges are easier to cross than others, aren’t they?

Some bridges are very sturdy and you feel confident as you cross them.
Some bridges are very rickety and, even thought you’re walking gingerly, you feel like you’re taking a chance with every step.

Some bridges only go over a little pond and it’s an easy stroll.
Some bridges sway terribly with the wind and you feel like you might get blown right off.

Some bridges have beautiful, calm water beneath them.
Some bridges have murky, stormy, threatening water beneath them.

I aspire to be a sturdy bridge, a bridge which allows you to take an easy stroll, a bridge that offers some calm so that you can keep your focus on what lies ahead.

My prayer for you, this week, is that when you’re burdened by “troubled water” you always have someone who will be your bridge.
Wishing you peace,

©2012 PeaceFullHome/Intentional Living

being a "bridge over troubled water" ©2015 Peace Full Home

being a “bridge over troubled water”
©2015 Peace Full Home


2 thoughts on “One Bridge at a Time- Crossing Troubled Waters

  1. Pingback: Serendipitous Journeys | peace full home—intentional living

  2. Pingback: One Bridge at a Time- Crossing Bridges Instead of Building Walls | PEACE FULL HOME - Intentional Living

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