Bridge or Barrier Builder?

03 Feb

This past week as I was driving in my car I listened to one of my favorite cds by Phillips, Craig and Dean.  It’s the live version and I got it from a friend a few years ago for a birthday gift. 

One of my favorite songs on the cd  is Build a Bridge of Love.  On the live version of the cd one of the artists tells the story of his grandfather being a bridge builder.  He said that his grandfather told him that the same materials to build bridges can be used to build barriers, it’s a choice of how you use the materials.

Yesterday morning on one of our coldest days of the year I was in town and took this picture of an old train bridge in Little Falls, Minnesota.  It has always been a favorite bridge of mine because of the architectural detail and its age.

Build a Bridge of Love by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Isn’t it crazy, we haven’t spoken in years
We were the closest friends
Where did we part, when did the love disappear
We thought it’d never end
Just a causeless separation
A turn in the road of life
But now we’re nothing more than strangers
Don’t you think that it’s time to

Let’s build a bridge of love together
One stone of hope at a time
Let’s span the sea that comes between us
So join your hand and heart with mine

The timing is right for our differences to cease
O Father make us one
Let’s join in the fight to love all humanity
Our time has just begaun
We can use these precious moments
To tear apart dividing walls
And with those stones of separation
Build a bridge for all
Every race and every nation
United and unique
We’re all just links in a chain of love
I need you, you need me

The past week I’ve had a lot of time to think about relationships.  I’ve been home sick with the flu.  Relationships are hard work.  It is much easier to build a barrier one piece at a time with each hurt or misunderstanding until the barrier is so large you cannot see over it or too long and can not walk around it. 

Each day I have to make an effort to make the choices that will create healthy relationships.  I’m not talking about becoming a doormat but keeping the lines of communication open even when I don’t agree with someone’s choices. My usual way to deal with conflict is to run the other way.  I just don’t like it and I don’t seek it out.   But that in itself can be a barrier between me and another. 

I don’t want to start building a barrier so that if in the future someone feels like talking about something they can still find me accessible instead of locked up in my castle with the drawbridge drawn up and the moat full of crocks.  Not a pretty picture but it can happen one piece at a time until we have secluded ourselves from the very people on this earth who were put here to enrich it.


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26 responses to “Bridge or Barrier Builder?

  1. 36x37

    February 3, 2011 at 9:09 am

    What a beautiful, thought-provoking piece. Very well written, Jeanne.

    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been ill. I don’t know why the flu tends to turn people into machines of introspection, but it has that quality about it, doesn’t it. I think it’s because you spend so much time thinking, “This is it, isn’t it. I’m dying, right? This has to be what dying feels like.”

    Kidding aside, here’s how I feel about relationships: They’re a one day at a time project. Any mistakes you or your loved ones have made in the past can be remedied, slowly, maybe, with careful designs for reconstruction.

    Hang in there. Love and friendship ain’t always easy!

    • flyinggma

      February 3, 2011 at 9:31 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more on the one day at a time projects. There are days I go to bed feeling good like things are really going well and then out of the blue I feel as though I’ve been hit by a truck.

      I like your comment “with careful designs for reconstruction.” Fits well with the bridge and barrier theme for the post today. I like the hopefulness that a reconstruction image provides.

  2. Cheryl Andrews

    February 3, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Stunning post … the story and the sentiments so beautifully expressed; the poem that speaks from the heart; and the imagery. As you prefer flight when faced with conflict, I reflexively move to ‘fight’ and a Spanish/Irish heritage makes me an intimidating foe. I take hope in your words, “Each day I have to make an effort to make the choices that will create healthy relationships.” Thank you. Get well.

    • flyinggma

      February 3, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Thank you for your kind words. Fortunately I am feeling much better today. It is a daily battle for me in relationships with my grown children. They are struggling for independence and their “own voice” and I am learning a new role other than a hovering mother.

  3. Todd Pack

    February 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Sorry you’ve been under the weather. Hope you feel better soon!

  4. flyinggma

    February 3, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Thanks Todd, I am feeling much better as is everyone else in the house. The flu left no stone unturned in the past week at our home.

  5. Carol Ann Hoel

    February 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I do so heartily agree with you. Being right isn’t as important as loving and caring. We may express our views without insisting that others must agree for us to esteem them worthy of our love. Live and let live; love and be loved. Blessings to you, Jeanne.

    • flyinggma

      February 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      Love your comments Carol especially love and be loved!

  6. writerwoman61

    February 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Another thought-provoking post, Jeanne…I also tend to run from conflict, but I remember every slight that anyone’s ever done! I tend to let stuff build up until I can’t take it any more…then, watch out!

    I hope you’re feeling better now…


    • flyinggma

      February 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      Feeling much better Wendy…I’m trying to play catch up at work, home and family after a week of everyone out of commission at one point or another this week.

      It’s better but not necessarily easier to let a little steam off once in a while so they don’t all stand there and look at you like you’ve lost your mind when you do explode and wonder what’s up with Mom?

  7. planejaner

    February 3, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    beautiful, Jeanne–and I hope you are feeling better!
    I love Phillps, Craig and Dean, and that song you mentioned. It’s very true…we choose what to build with our thoughts, actions, words and deeds…the hardest work is building a bridge…but it opens up the world for us.

    • flyinggma

      February 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      Blessings to you as well Jane. We are all feeling much better. I was always jealous of my carpenter brother, the tomboy in me always wanted to be doing what the guys were doing. I can work on building bridges of a different kind for a lifetime, after the design of the master carpenter himself.

  8. nrhatch

    February 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Some relationships are worth nurturing and cherishing ~ no matter how large an individual disagreement appears to be.

    Other relationships, if we are honest, are more trouble than they are worth. By letting them drift away, we free up time and energy for more productive pursuits.

    Thanks, Jeanne.

    • flyinggma

      February 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      It takes a discerning heart to know the difference between those we should nurture or walk away from, somedays I don’t feel as though I am wise enough to choose. Perhaps the one I feel most compelled to walk away from is exactly the relationship I need to work on but it is easier to walk away.

    • nrhatch

      February 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      I find that if I “look deep for the answer,” that honest reflection usually reveals the path I should choose.

      And, if I make the “wrong” choice, and we were meant to remain in each others lives, I believe the Universe will ensure that our paths cross again.

      So I go with my gut instinct and allow the path to unfold before me.

      • flyinggma

        February 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

        I’m usually pretty good with my gut instinct unless too many emotions are involved.

  9. Booksphotographsandartwork

    February 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I was rather upset I guess you would say by something my daughter in law said recently. It wasn’t about me but something I am very sensitive about and let her know that I wasn’t too happy about how she felt. Even though she had a right to her feelings I still was really disturbed by it. But we have learned how to “fight/argure” so to speak with each other finally after eight or so years.

    I’m sure that I went home and prayed about it as I was really unhappy about the matter. A few days later I called her and she brought the subject up and told that a lot of things had changed in that area and she was glad that we had talked about it inspite of the fact that I may have been hard on her. Maybe not so much even in what I said but my countanence. I wanted to do a little happy dance because it is a great turnaround. I might not can be as open with everyone in my family but oddly enough I can be with my daughter in law and we often disagree on many things. I always say my piece though 🙂

    For awhile it drove my son crazy! He would get so mad at me and tell me not to do that. I would say to him, why not? Is she not a big girl? Can’t she speak for herself? I told him it was fine for her to be upset and think about things. She shouldn’t be shielded and treated as a child. Sure enough the older she gets the better it gets. Things usually have to be talked about and not hidden.

    • flyinggma

      February 3, 2011 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks for your comments this afternoon. In a family you have to work through your issues and it is best to deal with them before they become a barrier as I mentioned. Hiding things may work for awhile but eventually they have to be dealt with.

      PS. I added a few spaces in your comment for easier reading but I did not remove or change any content. Just a little easier on my old eyes. Hope that’s okay?

  10. sunshineinlondon

    February 4, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Hi Jeanne, sorry I’m a bit behind on my favourite blogs. This is a lovely post, very thought-provoking and a beautiful photograph. The idea of bridges also being barriers is so interesting and true.
    Hope you’re feeling better.
    Sunshine xx

    • flyinggma

      February 5, 2011 at 11:44 pm

      Thanks Sunshine, we are feeling much better. I had fun thinking about this post. It developed in my mind over a few days between the song and the bridge photos.

  11. pearlsandprose

    February 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Wonderful post and beautiful photo, Jeanne. They go so well together.

    I too am one who runs at the first sign of conflict, but I’m getting better about it. Talking can mean the difference between ending and continuing a relationship sometimes, so I try to talk things through.

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better too.

    • flyinggma

      February 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm

      I am working on trying to stick it out with relationships and not run away from things I should work out. Talking isn’t easy but it is important.

  12. flyinggma

    February 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    My most difficult conversations are with my four kids, especially my daughters. They want their independence but still rely on us for many things but absolutely do not want my input on anything.

  13. JoDee Luna

    February 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    So the flu made it all the way to Minnesota. Both my husband and sister stayed home from work this week due to the flu. I hope you are feeling better. Is it wrong to say your post is wonderful, and that I benefited from your forced break? I needed to read this message.

  14. flyinggma

    February 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Thanks JoDee. I needed to read it as much as you think you did. Sorry to hear your family suffered through the flu this past week too. Sometimes having to take a break from our routine even through sickness can be exactly what we need.


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