Crossing Bridges

A two lane highway rises on to a steep bridge.

The Verrazano Bridge over the Sinepuxent Bay

When I was very young, my family often went camping at Assateague Island on the Maryland shore. It was a long drive, but there were lots of adventures along the way. The last adventure was crossing the Verrazano Bridge over the Sinepuxent Bay. This was one of my favorite moments. As we approached the bridge my father would holler back to all us kids, “Look out! It looks like we’re going to land in the water!”

The Verrazano Bridge rises sharply so you can’t see on the other side until you get close to the top. As you approach, it feels like you will fall right off the edge of the bridge when you get there.

Creating adventure was a theme in my family. My father would take us out on Sunday drives just to “get lost.” He would say things like, “Let’s just turn down this road and see where it takes us.” My mother would take us on penny hikes, flipping a coin at each fork in the trail to see which direction to walk next. We explored trails, creeks, and went bushwhacking a few times, always looking for new adventures.

Growing up with an appreciation for the unknown and creating adventures in unexpected ways has served me well. I like to try new foods and activities, go to places I haven’t been before, ride roller coasters … especially ones in the dark. I love Star Trek because they boldly go where no one has gone before. I like to explore new ways of doing things even when I’m not certain how it might turn out. Sometimes I do like to reinvent the wheel, and I try very hard to think outside the box and invite others to open the box for me when I get stuck inside.

Unitarian Universalists step out into the unknown all the time as we embark on our spiritual adventures. We go searching for new ways to make meaning of our lives, to create a more just and loving world, and to answer questions of ultimacy together.

We seek creative ways to raise our children with inquiring minds and loving hearts, and to provide them with the tools to navigate an unpredictable future.

We cross bridges and borders as we learn to navigate the multicultural world around us that challenges us to expand our worldview and embrace new ways of engaging a changing world.

Whether we are crossing a bridge from a place of comfort to challenges we never anticipated, or from our own cultural norms to completely new worldviews, we have resources, friends, and mentors to guide us.

If we are crossing the bridge from youth to young adult, or from career to retirement, somehow we find the tools we need to navigate our way to the other shore.

For this amazing journey, we carry in our backpacks a sense of wonder, a sense of humor, and a lot of courage. Our compass is the compassion we hold for all our neighbors.

Our sustenance is the joy of discovering our true selves and experiencing the divine in one another. Our map is the sacred covenant we hold with one another to walk this journey together.

With so many tools to guide and support us as we approach new bridges, it is not such a leap of faith to trust that we will arrive at the distant shore. Together, we can boldly go where our vision and our faith call us to go.