I started back at Grand Valley in the fall of 2016. I was going for social work because I wanted to join a profession that would allow me to help people. Possibly even get into counseling as that has been a major, influential piece of my story since I was a young tween. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, mainly due to some financial stress, I had to drop the remainder of my classes. I have not completely shut the door about going back, however I do know it is not in the cards for right now. During that time at Grand Valley, I took a social work class that was by far a favorite. My professor was spunky, personable, and non-intimidating like I had dealt with in the past. It made talking to her a whole lot easier. One of the assignments we had, was to write journal entries every so often about a certain social problem. I decided to share this one with you guys because it was a prompt that made me think and really internalize what building the bridge as you walk on it meant….
I realized, the bridge, for me, is one that I have built through the trials and struggles I have dealt with in my life. Each one has been a piece of wood I have laid down as I walk over this thing called life.
At 12 years old, I battled an eating disorder coupled with extreme anxiety. I began therapy which helped me cross many splintered planks of wood. It was an added tool that helped me work through emotional trauma that had invaded my life.
At 17 years old, I began a toxic relationship with a guy I almost married. I took one step forward and two steps back at all times. I became reclusive to life and was somebody that no one recognized. I did not have my own thought process anymore. I said what I believed he and those around me wanted to hear. I agreed with and believed the same things he did, believing they were the only things to believe. After being broken up with twice, I became stuck on this bridge. There was a huge gaping hole that I had no desire to fill. I did not know what it meant to move forward. My whole life had been uprooted. Where I thought I was headed, was no longer the direction I was going.
At 19 years old, I endured many injuries while at college, surgeries that kept me from doing the things I love, and I thought I would never catch a break. While I had laid down several more planks of wood and began to move forward with my life, I was once again, stuck.
At 20 years old, I was more so than not, physically recovered and found love again. I began to make the move of placing planks on this bridge of life even if I did not feel like I could. I had so many things in my life that deterred me from moving forward, things I could have pushed through but chose not to. I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted and the thought of making myself hammer nails into this wood to make a path for me to move forward, seemed like just too much. Then I saw the sun at the end. Overhead of me were dark clouds, attempting to push each other out of the way, but giving up in the end. I did not want to give up. What was that going to teach anyone else who were going through similar struggles? Give up because it is easier? No….taking the easier road would maybe give you temporary relief in the moment, but it would have lifelong repercussions.
Once my focus was on the sun at the end, each swing of my hammer felt lighter. The gaping hole was being filled and it got me closer and closer to where I wanted to be. The wood below me became courage, strength, fight and drive, desire, love, faith, and a multitude of other emotions, as I built the bridge that I desired to walk on. The splinters, the scars in the wood, tell a story. They are not perfect and neither is the journey to where I’m going right now.
However, I finally made the choice for myself, that I was not going to be ashamed of those scars. I was going to embrace them. I was not going to curl up and let life run me over. I was going to focus my attention on God and loving the journey He had me on, even if it is not the one I envisioned for myself, or the one I thought was easier.
Building the bridge that I walk on, to me, means this….it means that every trial I have gone through has allowed me to either lay a plank down as I move forward in life or refuse and give up. I do have a choice, but the latter one may have entitled me not being here anymore if I had let the anxiety and depression take over.
As I pushed on and laid down more wood, I was then able to love life more and find joy in the little things; something that was a struggle before and still is some days. However, knowing there is light at the end of the bridge and having my God by my side, has made me continually fight and push through each day and never lose the fire to succeed.
What does building the bridge as you walk on it mean to you?
“For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 ESV
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” ~ Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV
“Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord.” ~ Haggai 1:8 ESV