Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Suspension Bridge (Part Three)

Hello!  First of all, I am actually hungry again, which is a lovely feeling.  I spent yesterday in bed resting, and even though I’m still not 100%, I am going to be able to go to class and be out with everyone else today!  Praise God for His healing! 
The final thing I want to share about the Suspension Bridge is what happened when we had a team go over it together.  Just to remind you, the bridge consisted of 8 chairs plus three balance balls bound together.  Chairs 1 & 2 and 7 & 8 were firmly on the ground, chairs 3 & 4 and 5 & 6 had pieces of wood under them, making them unstable. 
All the kids except the littlest ones came back for this part.  Tim had volunteers come up to make the team which consisted of a dad, a mom, a son (aged 5), a daughter (aged 12), and two singles.  But, they weren’t going to just go over one-at-a-time.  Since they had connections, they were literally attached to each other with ropes and cords and were going to have to cross with all those strings.

Getting Attached.

Dad and Mom were attached to each other and to each of the kids, who were also attached to each other.  The two singles were less attached, of course, but still connected to the family.  As we stood looking at the intertwined cords and then at the bridge, the whole endeavor seemed impossible! 
Tim looked at the rest of us standing around and told us that we, too, had a part in this.  We represented supporters, prayer partners, stake holders, friends and family back home.  The Team could call on us to help hold them up when needed. 
Some folks rushed forward, willing and ready right away.  Others held back, watching the proceedings.  Some of us (myself included!) had cameras and were more interested in taking pictures than helping.  (In all fairness, there was no room left next to the bridge!)
Off they went.  One of the Singles went first, followed by Dad, Son, Mom, Daughter, and then the other Single.  Even climbing up onto the first chairs took some effort.  To me, it was a good reminder that any time we are connected to others, along with the joy it brings, can be challenges.  The Single out front hit Unsettling first.  Because she was less attached, it seemed a little easier for her to negotiate the wobbly chairs.  It was slower for Dad, who was also worried about his family. 
The cool thing was the Singles were fully engaged in the process.  The one up front kept turning back to make sure the rest were okay.  The one in back felt a little helpless, watching but unable to do much because she was behind them all.  Again, good reminders that it’s important for me as a Single to be an active part of the lives of those with whom I serve.

Single (red shirt) through Chaos helping team.

The first Single got through Chaos quite quickly.  Again, less attached, it made it a bit easier.  She immediately turned around to help encourage the rest.  At this point, she had reached Re-Settling, Dad was on the brink of Chaos, Mom and the kids were on Unsettled, and the other Single was still on Settled.  Each of us goes through the bridge at a different pace.  Just because I may have weathered Chaos does not mean others with me are already past it. 
I was really nervous about how Dad and the rest of the family were going to get through Chaos.  Recall how even for a person all alone, it took getting onto her knees to get across.  Dad had Son crawl onto his back to keep him safe.  It was nerve-wrecking to watch them slowly approach Chaos.  Dad called out to the Supporters, though, who rushed up to hold the balls steady, and reached out hands and arms to support him. 

Supporters reach out to hold Team thru Chaos.

What a beautiful picture of how others are an active part of the process!  Tim had been stopping the group throughout the process to ask how they were doing.  When he yelled Stop! as the Dad got onto the Chaos balls, several Supporters held him steady.  As Dad said later, if they hadn’t, he would have fallen off, with his Son on his back, dragging the Mom, Daughter and possibly both Singles down, too.  How important to have a team supporting the team!!

Breathing a sigh of relief as Team makes it to New Settled.

It got less scary after they all passed Chaos.  Even then, it was important to remember that each one was going through the stages at different times.  When Dad was past Chaos with Son, the Mom, Daughter and the other Single were still heading into it.  Finally, all were beyond it.  As each person went from Re-settling onto New Settled, we burst into clapping and cheering.  The whole room felt like we had accomplished something – and really, we had!
Whew, what a journey, eh?!  Just a couple of final thoughts:
It was noted that Dad didn’t ask for help when the Single crossed Chaos.  He felt really bad about it, but she said it hadn’t occurred to her to ask for help, either.  This reminded me it will be important for me to remember I don’t have to go it alone.  I also cannot assume others will know what I need, unless I reach out and let them know. 
As a Single person who has been very self-sufficient, it might not even occur to me to call out for help.  Being aware of this tendency will hopefully help me reach out.  How much easier it is to get through the storms when others are lifting me up!
At one point the Dad made the comment, If the weakest one of us falls, we’ll all fall.  This is true not just on the mission field, but in all of life.  Looking out for the least of these is so important – and, of course, Biblical!
Every so often Tim would tell the Team to STOP! and asked them how they were doing.  It became less and less easy for them to talk as they focused all their energy and attention on staying on top of the chairs.  Especially when I am experiencing Chaos, I may not always have the stamina to share what’s happening.  It’s helpful to be aware of this now so that I can let all of you know it. 
If I suddenly stop blogging for a long period of time, if I stop emailing or even facebooking, it may mean I’m in a really difficult place.  If that happens, please reach out and see if I’m okay, but also understand I may not be able to communicate well.  Prayers in that silent time will most definitely be appreciated – and needed!    
Thanks, friends, for your interest in my journey!  I pray that the things I am learning will help you to see our loving and powerful God in new ways.  He is with us!  All for God, and for His glory! 


  1. Thank you for your posts! The part that stuck out the most for me, right now, is not asking for help during the chaos moments. In life, there are moments that we forget to ask for help or even ask for specifics. Like I may say to God that I need help but not get into the details of what I need or even ask others that I know even for prayer.

    Very helpful to also support. A great learning! I appreciate your sharing with us! Much love, Sara

  2. Wow Kim, you captured the whole bridge thing really well. I know I learned a lot of good lessons through that illustration I will remember as I communicate with supporters and interact with others in general.