In sixth grade, my industrial arts teacher charged my class with an assignment to build a bridge out of toothpicks, paper, and Elmer’s glue. The strongest bridge would ‘win’. Set to the task, we worked as diligently as kids that age can muster. Some of the kids actually built a decent bridge.
Mine, however, was pitiful. As my sticky bridge imploded on itself, it became painfully apparent there would be no career in civil engineering for me.
In spite of my early failure as a bridge builder, I regularly find myself charged with the task, though in a slightly different light. In the bridge building I practice today, the toothpicks and glue are replaced with people and problems. Most of my life involves sitting between divergent groups in an attempt to connect them to each other. I am both an at home mom and a career woman. I teach how to English to non-English speakers. I am married to a South Asian. I raise biracial children. I live in a rural white community. I teach college students. I have an intense heart for the poor but live a middle class life. I am a post-modern from a modern generation.
I can’t really get away from it, because I never exactly fit anywhere I go. I’m beginning to wonder if God’s doing this on purpose. I suppose that may not be all that out of character for the One who initiated the idea of building bridges as a means to reconcile the Loved Ones He stood between (i.e. God and man).
Yet it’s a bit trickier for me, the imperfect one. I forget what I’m doing and get mad that I’m all alone on my bridge. I sit a bit too long on one side and lose sight of the other side. A storm blows in and I abandon my bridge for safer places. I find my bridge so important that I forget the reason it exists, and who created it. Ultimately, this bridge is the place where God puts me.
For some reason, the place I’m used best is in the in-between.