Yesterday I drove across the Evergreen Floating Bridge that spans Lake Washington going to the Burbs on the east-side I don’t drive this way often and it never ceases to surprise me that the water on each side of the bridge can often be shockingly different. Yesterday the water out one door of my Jeep was jumping, spitting, white water. While the water out of the other door looked as if Jesus had recently spoken “Peace be still” over it.
As I watched the water display it’s split personality, I recalled an article I’d read when I first moved here that described how the waters to the south are often choppier than the waters to the north because of the way that the winds usually blow across the lake. I also remembered that the author of the article said “However, there are times when we have a strong arctic wind event that it can be reversed, and the choppy water is on the north side.”
I had to laugh as I thought about the water and the bridge as a symbol for where I am in my life right now. I have so many questions and my willingness to ask those questions seems to keep the water churned up on one side of my life. The people around me…those who have been in my life for a while…are not sure what to make out of my doubts and willingness to go on an exploration of my faith. It makes them nervous and their anxiety spills over onto me and keeps the waters roiling. I feel it when I say something controversial, when I’m honest without hesitation, or when I choose the position that is not the status quo of the people I grew up with or who thought we had similar beliefs.
Then there is the deep running calm water of my spirit. The peaceful roll of tides that come with me when I meditate, do yoga, pray, write, or sit in conversation with those with whom I am fully myself. On this side of the bridge the edge is off. I am vulnerable. I can feel the very presence of God working with me, hearing me, and giving me guidance into the next season of life. It is on the calm water that friendships are made, joy is fulfilled, and truth is revealed.
And just in case we forget…sometimes an arctic wind blows through and changes the course. Sometimes something I read bothers my peace. Sometimes someone from the camp of judgement speaks comfort and acceptance over my life. Sometimes I’m not edgy enough for those who have come to like my rebellious streak. Sometimes I am too calm for those who want a good fight. Sometimes I can’t meditate or hear God through the noise of my work or my fear.
But no matter how the winds blow, God is the bridge. The bridge doesn’t belong to any one side more than the other. My calm, peaceful, meditative state can’t clam God belongs to it more than the human, frenetic side of me can say that it owns God or needs God more.
God is the bridge that sits between the opposing waters and offers a path, a meeting place, common ground. God is still in my movement and shows me that I am both a place of peaceful meditation and the place of creative energy. God is waiting always to meet me in the place of security…the divide. The Divine is in the place where anyone from either side of the water can come for rest…to meet someone different than themselves..to be challenged with a different point of view. God is in the place where different waters meet to share a kind word, a cup of blessing, or some light for the journey.
I need the bridge as a centerpiece between my divergent nature. We need the bridge as a culture so divided that we oft fail to find common ground and forget that we are all in this together. We need the bridge as a world seeking meaning, clarity, and hope.