There is a trumpet on my desk. Not mine. I don’t play the trumpet. Well, let me rephrase that. I can play the notes on a trumpet. When you know some of the people I’ve had the privilege of calling friends, you’ll understand. These people play the trumpet. They don’t push air through their instruments; they breath life into it. In their hands, the inanimate piece of brass becomes a thing of beauty, evoking emotions, bringing tears to the eyes, inspiring laughter in the soul. Being able to manipulate the valves and form your lips into approximate shapes to call forth the individual notes? I don’t call that playing the trumpet. I don’t play the trumpet.
No. This trumpet is on my desk because I’m selling it for someone and I need some photos. Since my former hoarder’s room and photo studio has become my office, the desk has to serve as a prop for the pictures. But, as I sat at my keyboard tonight and prepared to write again, I happened to glance up from my chair. The photo you see here is the view from where I’m sitting now.
Do you see it? No, not the trumpet. Do you see what I see? I see a bridge. Okay; I will admit it. I love images of bridges. My walls are covered with them. That said, this view tonight inspired an interesting line of thought.
Those of you who play music will understand what a musical bridge is; that passage of music which moves you smoothly from one section of a song to the next one, usually in a different style or possibly even a different key. But, tonight I’m thinking about music and bridges in a different light.
There is a personal realization that, in many ways, music has itself been a bridge for me. Watching a video earlier tonight about being bullied, I realized that in my youth, music was a bridge for me from being the odd-man-out to being a part of something important. “I’m in the band!” was a badge worn proudly by many of my fellow band-geeks. Before, we had been weird and alone, tormented by the athletes and socialites. Now, we were weird and part of something! That bridge had been crossed with music. Over the years, this bridge has become more familiar, as I have enjoyed helping many folks find the approach to the span between musical illiteracy and the brilliant expanse that is the world of music. The amazing thing is that other bridges have been built to many people I would never have encountered if my path had never led over the music bridge in the first place. You will not be surprised to learn that I am still weird and still part of something…
So, the view from where I’m sitting is one of music and of bridges. There is no doubt that there are many of you who don’t see the same thing from your vantage point. But, it is just as certain that there is something in your life which you can point to as your bridge – to a different life, to different people, to a different place – where you could never have arrived without it. It may be a skill you possess, may be a passion burning in you, may even be simply a dream for the future. Just as in real life, our bridges come in all varieties, some basic and utilitarian, others elaborate and ornate. All serve the same purpose; to provide passage from one place to another, over barriers that once seemed insurmountable.
There is an innate beauty in any bridge, a beauty which derives from its basic function. But, I am also partial to the ornamented bridges which, by their decoration, demonstrate the joy which their creator took in designing them. No ordinary means of mobility, these works of art make it clear that the greatest enjoyment is in the journey itself. For myself, there are many such bridges in life; faith, family, music, art, friendship; the list goes on and on. They are bridges to love or to an enriched spirit; even bridges to God Himself. That’s right. One of the strongest bridges I know is the bridge of grace, put in place by our Savior as He laid Himself down for us; surely, a very important bridge to traverse.
And, once again, this old rambler has stumbled around for long enough. Time to head for home. I hope along the way tonight, you’ve seen a bridge or two that you never noticed before.
Beautiful, aren’t they?
Well, they certainly are from where I’m sitting.
“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.”
(Joseph Fort Newton~American pastor~1876-1950)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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