Expansion Bridge Theology
February 20, 2013 § 3 Comments
At some point in my childhood my family went to a church with a balcony. When we were late we would sneak up there, and I was always terrified that somehow the floor would give way. I would put my hand out on the ledge, to steady myself as I looked over the congregation, and feel very light, breathless, and at risk.
I would back away, sit in the pew, and fidget furiously, itching, sweating, my parents swatting my anxious hands when I went to scratch at the tights riding up my bottom.
I don’t light heights.
On our honeymoon Lance and I went to check out this Vancouver tourist trap, this “suspension bridge,” this thing of horrors. It started out fun. The people-watching was first rate. For example, there was a tour bus full of Asian teenagers in Catholic schoolgirl outfits filing out of the park when we arrived.
“Look, honey,” I said, “Fetishes!”
But once I found myself at the midpoint of the bridge, I was struck by the folly of putting my faith in a wobbly bit of wood and cable as I hung over a canyon green with sharp trees and grey with hard rocks. I lost my breath. I began to moan, “This is not fun. This is not fun.” My husband laughed.
A tiny Indian woman hobbled past me, a slow wave of gauzy fabric. I cursed God.
I don’t like railings; I don’t like storm drains. I give floor-to-ceiling windows a wide berth. I don’t like driving on overpass bridges in the winter, either, because that’s when the expansion joints spread, and when you drive over them, could you not just fall right through? (You can’t. But just try telling me that when I’m driving over one.)
I was thinking about these expansion gaps tonight, as I drove home from my last Beth Moore Bible study, and how much I fear them. But they are what make the bridge stable and trustworthy; without the ability to expand and contract, the expanse of the bridge could grow brittle and far more dangerous.
I have gaps like that in me, and I am frightened by them. I don’t like being out of the mainstream; my doubt makes me feel exposed. Those perceived points of weakness give the violent ones fingerholds by which to rip me open. Which is terrifying. But if I am to get anywhere, I must put trust in those flexible points, those scary open spaces.