by Venice Williams
Having been born and nurtured in Pittsburgh, Pa., I know a bit about bridges. I was both surrounded by and enchanted by them.
Growing up in a high-rise apartment in a valley of steel mills where miles of train tracks and slow-moving rivers wove their way through massive hills, crossing bridges became a ritual throughout my childhood.
If it were not for bridges, I would have lived a life of isolation. It is impossible to live in Pittsburgh and not have to cross a bridge.
And all of those years of crossing bridges became the foundation for my life’s vocation, my life’s work. Although the unveiling of my call began long before I arrived in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1988, living in this city for the past 26 years has made it impossible for me to escape the truth.
I was put into the world to be a bridge.
[bctt tweet=”Bridgework is for those who believe all is not lost.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
I was birthed into creation to be a path that guides, introduces, reunites, challenges, nourishes, revives and helps restore humanity in its many layers of brokenness.
Bridgework is complicated. It is intense and never-ending. Bridgework is immensely rewarding. It can even be painful.
Yet, bridgework is healing work. It is spiritual work. It is a calling for the faith-filled, for those of us who believe that creation is redeemable and humanity has more than possibility. Humanity has purpose. Bridgework is for those who believe all is not lost.
Bridgework was made for the season of Advent. If we do not have the courage to be bridges any other time of the year, Advent seems to bring forth the bridge-worker in many of us. As we await the birth of the Christ, as the streets and buildings around us light up, the embers inside of us spark again, too.
We make phone calls that clear paths for lost relationships. We cook for and feed one another. We forgive ourselves. We keep promises. We see the other more fully, more clearly.
Bridgework nudges us into fullness, into completeness. It sometimes drags us kicking and screaming. At other times, we are relieved that someone has taken us by the hand, leading the way.
Advent is the season of bridgework.
Venice Williams is executive director of Alice’s Garden Urban Farm and The Body and Soul Healing Arts Center, both in Milwaukee. Wis. She is also the developer of a new ELCA worshipping community called The Table, a first century-style church in the 21st century. This blog first ran as a Give Us This Day column in the December 2015 issue of Gather magazine.