Once upon a time
Once upon a time, there lived a husband and a wife on a tiny island. There was one waterfall, a flock of birds that dropped in each morning, and a patch of flowers. Their island was small, and it was lonely.
But far off in the distance was a large island. Its lights pierced the night sky after every sun down. The music floated out to the Tiny Island, where the husband and wife sat on the rocks and whispered to each other about how they’d love to be there. On the Big Island, there were always Activities to do. They could hear the leftover noises from regular festivals and plays and celebrations. The Big Island seemed much better than their Tiny Island.
So, the husband and the wife started to plan how to get to the Big Island. But, they didn’t want to just get there; they wanted to belong there.
They got to work on building bridges, and they did not give up. They wanted – they needed – to reach the Big Island. And so, it went like this: the couple would start a bridge by laying the boards and building the frames.
But they could only get so far, sticking themselves out into the sea, and then the bridge would collapse.
Because relational bridges must be mutual.
Bridge after bridge shot out from the Tiny Island, only to crumble into the hungry sea half way to the Big Island. It seemed like everyone on the Big Island was too busy with their schedule of activities and banquets to notice their attempts.
One day, something different happened. The couple saw a bridge jutting out from the Big Island. This was someone they could connect to! Someone was reaching beyond the Big Island! The couple started to lay boards with haste until the two new bridges connected over the vast sea. There, in the middle of their bridge and over the rough waters of the sea, they met the other bridge-builder – a friend, at last!
The couple now had a relationship, a bridge, that could usher them onto the Big Island. They gathered up their babies and raced over, hearts ran faster than their feet to the promise of finally belonging.
A sign greeted them: Welcome to the Big Island. We are glad you have joined us.
But the Big Island was empty. And the couple couldn’t find the “us” anywhere.
The waterfalls were painted on cardboard.
The flowers were cut from magazine pages and crumbled when their babies tried to pick them.
This month’s series is on being a bridge-builder. In short, it’s about how to be like certain individuals who let God show up in their words and deeds and forever changed our little family. But, it’s not a series about our story; it’s a series about how Redemption made our story useful, even valuable, in a greater story.
If Jay and I know anything about being a bridge-builder, it’s because we were the ones stuck on an island. If we understand anything about the power of meeting people where they are and standing in the gap, it’s because that’s how we were rescued – by God, through average people.