Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”➀ was one of the most performed songs of the twentieth century. 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 trouble 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.”
Amidst pain, hatred, anger, distrust, and a pandemic, it often feels like “troubled water” is the only thing our planet is experiencing. My problems are, of course, insignificant compared to the majority world. But, despite knowing that, I still sometimes fail to practice immense gratitude for not living through what so many others are; to see my personal challenges for what they are—pretty darned small.
Yesterday was a great example—I woke up a little after 4:30, exhausted, my cup running over (not in a positive way), and my heart filled with sadness because of life struggles. By 4:45, I had a load of laundry in the washer, and the first cup of tea on my desk. (I know that because I was staring at the clock, thinking, “I wish I slept more.”) The sun was up by 5:30. When I walked out onto the deck, it broke my heart to see the ongoing construction of a 25′ x 16′ water tank right behind our garden. Then, I realized I had to be at physical therapy at 8:00 and would miss my friend, Emily’s meditation practice. Struggles we personally experience are relative because they’re changing us in real-time, but wow… a cup of hot tea, a house with a deck and garden, and heading to PT to repair my arm! Whoa, what right do I have to be sad, given what so many others are living? I reminded myself, again, “if these are the biggest issues you have today, you truly are blessed!”
Back to Bridges
Crossing bridges can be scary. That fear is heightened when what’s going on around us is a swirling, painful mess of murkiness. To avoid the work of getting through troubled, uncharted waters, we often end up staying where we are instead of attempting to make it better—it feels “easier” and “safer”—there’s less chance of “being lost at sea.”
Are you struggling with immense loss, battling the past, or preparing to make a meaningful life change? Often the fear of the unknown—especially if it feels like you’re in it alone–keeps you frozen, afraid to trust that things really will get better, that you’ll make it safely to the other side. You stare at the troubled waters, then back away.
If you’re in a place where your life is flowing beautifully, be a bridge that helps others know that they’re not alone—that you’re there for them, with love and support, without judgment or expectations.
When someone is “feeling small,” help her cross a bridge that shows her unlimited potential. When a person is “down and out,” be the bridge to help him recover his self-esteem. When “times get rough,” make the time to stand on the bridge and really hear the person who’s alone or in pain. When “darkness comes, and pain is all around,” say, “like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”
When we open ourselves to the possibility of being a safe place to cross and a respite from life’s tumultuous waters, we live into our best selves, we become the bridge, we become the harbor in the storm.
Some bridges are easier to cross than others, aren’t they? Some are very sturdy, and some are very rickety. Some have beautiful calm water beneath them, and some tumultuous waves. I aspire for Peace Full Home to be a bridge that invites you to take a leisurely stroll, a bridge that offers some calm to keep your focus on what lies ahead, a bridge that says, “you can do it, you are worth it,” because you are.
➀ inspired by the lyrics, “I’ll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in me,” of Claude Jeter’s gospel quartet song, “Mary Don’t You Weep”
Dear Reader, please help spread the word of peace full home® and invite your friends to our peace-filled conversations. I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment and let me know what you’re thinking. If you comment, please check the box so that you get my response. Thank You!