My mind began wondering off the moment I laid eyes on this bridge for the first time that wet & rainy morning we rode. Even now as I write when I look at this picture it represents so many things in my life right now. This side earth-that side heaven. This side fear-that side Victory over it.This side unsure-that side knowing.
Last week Judy and I got a little lost doing some trail blazing. Were still getting to know the woods across from where we board. It's gotta be hundreds of acres as far as I can tell. The woods & everything in it were soaked to the core. When we got to the second tier of the hill I saw this beautiful bridge at the top. I always get excited when I see new challenges for Bubba & I to try. I was sizing up the bridge. I was thinking it looked rather new and definitely strong enough to hold the weight of a car so I figured my horse & I should be just fine but to be sure I got off Bubba and made him stand while I walked up on the bridge to check it out..I got back on Bubba and took a deep breath and in my efforts to pump myself up to go across Judy and Gomer just walked by us politely and up and over they went lol..I didn't say I was the most brave woman in the world but I'll try just about anyone once !!! Sometimes when facing something new, my mind quickly runs many scenarios. Like for instance, what happens if my horse panics in the middle of the bridge? Though the floor seems strong enough how about the rails? What if the sounds his hooves make going across scare him..What if the bridge isn't strong enough? What if we don't make it lol. There's only a few choices..You can turn around and go back the way you came. You can find an alternate route (there was none in this case lol) or You can cowgirl up and go across.
Just as Bubba and I walked up the first ramp part of the bridge, Judy and Gomer were going down off the last ramp part off bridge. I had to stop Bubba in the middle of the bridge because I could see & hear Gomers shoes sliding down across the wet wood & I thought thank God this bridge isn't any longer or more steep. Now this would be nothing to worry about if the bridge was dry but I wanted to be careful. If Bubba were to get hurt crossing do you think he would be so willing to cross the next bridge we encounter? Probably not..Do you think he might lose a little trust in me to keep him safe? Probably..So I wanted this to end well and safely. Since i was all ready in the middle of the bridge there was no turning back since there were ramps at both ends. Normally on a dry day there would be a little grip, but not today. When Bubba got to the end I made him slow up and I just tried to Hold his head with the reins to give him a little support but Up wasn't where he needed his head..So he basically let me know he needed to lower his head to keep his balance and to keep from slipping & falling. Trust goes both ways..He trusted me to get up on the bridge and now I had to trust him to get us off. He put his nose darn near to the ground and down we slid.. It wasn't the easiest bridge to cross over on horseback but it was however the only way to get to the other side and Bubba did a great job. I was so proud of him..That was definitely carrot worthy & Bubba knew it as he stopped and looked back at me like "well??"hahaha
To be honest that bridge was pretty scary. I had no way of knowing the getting off the bridge would be the hardest & most tricky part. The incredible part was how willing Bubba was to trust me to walk up & on this wooden bridge.There was a time when he had no trust in me & would of just planted his feet and said "No Way" & I had no faith in him or myself & would of said "okay" or found an alternate route. Once we started up the bridge there was a second element. As any trail rider knows, the sound that each of Bubbas steps would make. A lot louder then on solid ground that hollow clipody clop was enough to make him curious and walk very slow. Im glad, I'd rather pick a slow and steady pace then try to fly across it dangerously. My horse and I are becoming quite the team.
I'm so proud of the both of us and how far we've come with getting to know each other. Bubbas willingness to trust & step up on was huge, But having him walk across and off was a Victory. It was the back side, coming off the bridge that was a bit nerve wracking for me. I didn't realize wood got so slick when its wet. I was so afraid Bubba was gonna slip and go down on his rump with me on him. Looking back on it I probably should have got off and hand walked him across but he was willing so I chose to ride him and We crossed it together!!! When we reached the last part,he just put his nose real low too the bridge and locked his legs and slid down. I think we both breathed a sigh of relief when we got on solid ground. I'd be lying if I didn't say my heart was pounding a little bit. Once across, I swore, if we ever came to this bridge again I was going to take a picture of it for all of you to see.
At times when were faced with that bridge in life were just to darn scared to cross it. We might even look for an alternate route around it. We can only see that safe ground is under our feet by staying on this side. Or maybe that bridge represents whats keeping you from getting to the other side. Instead of a means to get there.Then there's the rest of us, because were focused so hard on whats on the other side we begin to doubt we have what it takes mentally,physically or spiritually to get across. There's no way to foresee what the "getting across" will entail, So we tend to want to overlook that major detail & just focus on "this side" or the "other side".
For most its that first step that's the hardest. For others it's the walk across or that last step from the known into the unknown that is the most scary. Regardless every step of the way takes Guts. Sometimes the other side represents a life different then the one your living now this very moment. Maybe that bridge represents whats keeping you from getting to the other side. Maybe the other side holds a promise that what's breaking our hearts today wont hurt as bad if at all by the time we make it over there. Trying to see the other side from where your standing right now isn't really possible.. It's sorta like blinking your eyes & wishing something came to be or wishing something went away. This is real life and most times wishes aren't granted. So lets muster the courage to take that first step, lets dig down & find the strength we need to walk on.
For me right now,that bridge represents learning to live on without my loved ones here & how someday I'll see them on the other side.. The journey across that bridge is me working through my grief and making my own decisions without parents to fall back on for advice or reassurance. I wish grief was one of those things you could just blink your eyes and make go away. Grief though a painful & sometimes long & difficult process is the result of a great love shared. If only wisdom didn't come at such a cost. Compassion for others can be one of the greatest gifts or lessons you can take from grief to help someone else. Being understood when it hurts brings more comfort then generic words could ever express.
The next time you see a bridge, whether its on some back woods trail or on the way to work..Give your self a little credit for all those you've mustered the courage to cross. Think about the strength & knowledge you've gained during the "crossing over & walking through". Just don't ever let fear keep you from taking that first step. So whether your walking in the valley of the shadow of death or crossing the bridge over troubled waters please remember you do not walk alone. I wish you strength and courage to get to the other side.