“As long as there is distance between us and we cannot look in each other's eyes, all sorts of false ideas and images arise.” - Henri Nouwen
Felton Covered Bridge, circa 1892-93
Blair Woods, Silver Spring, MD
The wall paper in my laptop changed from a picture of a wooden covered bridge in Central California to a picture of two of my kids sitting on a little homemade bridge that rested on the banks of a frozen creek. It was taken in my parents back yard in Maryland.
Two bridges in two different states taken at two different times. One is bathed in golden sunshine while the other is welcoming the dapple drops of a winter storm.
Years ago, we took the kids on a road trip to study the different kinds of bridges. It sounds like a silly thing to do, but we were homeschooling them at the time and it seemed like an educational opportunity. Or at least an excuse to take a road trip.
We studied suspension bridges, rope bridges, covered bridges, natural bridges, and even the Golden Gate bridge, just to name a few.
One bridge we didn’t study, and I regret I didn't think about it at the time, was the human bridge. And way we might overcome the gaps that separate us from others.
As long as there are barriers between us we will never find peace. We will never fully love. And we will continue to deal with the anxieties that come with living in fear of how our neighbors on the other side of the gap see us, or define us.
Henri Nouwen taught, “As long as there is distance between us and we cannot look in each other's eyes, all sorts of false ideas and images arise.”
There seems to be a growing trend (or one that is becoming more visible thanks to social media) of calling the police on black people. For some reason a black 8 year old girl selling water on a hot day or a 12 year d black boy mowing lawns for a summer job is a threat to society or the economy.
This week, as a young black entrepreneur in San Francisco (of all places) was opening his own store, a “neighbor” called the police believing he was robbing his own store! The police , doing their job, made the man show proof and even then ran his ID after he proved he was the owner by unlocking his store with his keys.
(READ STORY HERE)
Racism, xenophobia, and distrust are causing a great schism between human beings at an alarming rate. What do we as a human race have to benefit from such division? Does it outweigh what we might create if we became more united?
How quickly have we forgotten that we all belong to one universe, one DNA, one love. We are all brothers and sisters. We can either “treat them as objects that can be destroyed at will.” Or we can begin to build human bridges.
“Only when we have the courage to cross the street and look in one another's eyes can we see there that we are children of the same God and members of the same human family.”
Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”
He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”
Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”
Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”