more than a bridge

Sometimes I sit down to pen a post and then all of a sudden I just can’t. I can’t go forward with my pre-thought-out idea. Something has happened that changes my perspective. Sometimes I don’t like that. But the reality is that most of the time when my perspective is changed, it’s for the better and wiser. Such is true today.

When I first began to ponder the content of today’s post, awakening to the early morning news, my first visual was a view of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, tragically collapsing in Baltimore, Maryland. I read the immediate, shortened accounts… of it happening around 1:30 in the morning… the cargo ship hitting the bridge… the bridge spanning the lower Patapsco River… and the rescue urgently underway, believing this to be a “mass casualty.”

It’s horrendous. It’s unfathomable. It makes me stop. 

Multiple people have lost or are in process of losing their lives as I write this. I know we all have hard stuff in our lives — stuff that’s hurtful, hard to deal with, things that have the potential to totally rattle us because we don’t want them to happen. But we aren’t those people who were on that bridge. We aren’t the people who were routinely coming or going to/fro work that night. We aren’t the families who were waiting at home nor the sleeping kids who awaited a final kiss on the forehead when their parent finally arrived. We weren’t part of the missing construction crew. And while I don’t believe in dismissing any individual via the comparison of suffering, it is still reality that we aren’t the people who all of a sudden most had to deal with the horror. The horror puts life in perspective.

We live in a broken world, friends — in a world that’s not as it should be. And I would respectfully argue that such is a feeling even the non-religious adherent are aware of. There is too much death, disease and destruction… there is too much fighting and seeking of power over others… there is too much condescension and conceit. There is too much lesser than honoring God by learning to love all whom he created.

If we’re all created in the same image, it doesn’t matter any more or any less who it was on that bridge the other night…

… black, white, Latino, Asian… gay, straight, something else… old, young… Republican, Democrat… bright, disabled, rich, poor… it doesn’t matter.

Friends, we fight about too many things.

We justify too many fights.

We fight because we don’t understand. We don’t understand because we don’t sit with the different. We don’t sit with the different because it takes patience, time and a genuine willingness to hear the heart of others. That’s hard.

And we avoid the hard that’s constantly present in a broken world, acting instead as if the fight is necessary.

Friends, most of the time when we deem the fight to be necessary, it’s unfair to conclude the lack of virtue is solely with another person.

Sit with the one you do not understand. Be curious.

In current day, we routinely hear from many of those in the political realm who have no idea how someone can be a supporter of Donald Trump and all his accompanying, disrespectful bravado. We hear a surfeit of others aghast at those who turn a blind eye to Joe Biden’s lack of lucidity. We see the demonization continue downline… even in sporting events, of those who root differently, who feel differently. It’s sad to juxtapose sports and politics, but the reality is that in a broken world, we aren’t all that good at respecting those unlike us; we’re instantly opposed to the other team, whatever arena we enter. We thus judge others in what we don’t understand. And we aren’t taking the time to understand them.

Here’s a hard truth, friends. There are good people who support Donald Trump and Joe Biden. There are good people who sit on the other side of the sporting event, rooting for the other team. But when we aren’t patient, when we aren’t curious and when we don’t take the time, we will never realize that. Instead, we will justify the fight, further fueling the prevailing brokenness.

It’s Easter week. That’s hard to dismiss. It’s a week all about love, sacrifice, and suffering. And I want to ensure in that love, we learn to honor both the skeptic and the faithful, each of whom was created in God’s amazing image.

Some were on that bridge.

That makes me think.

That makes me think of how we treat one another.

That also makes me keenly aware of the broken world we live in.