Saturday, September 14, 2013

Planks.

I love those random conversations that one has with people they hardly know.

I had one of those today.

She talked about disappointing a friend- and the analogy she used was marvelous.

She said that it was like she was building a bridge across a ravine for her friend to cross over. Carefully placing planks in front of her feet for her to step on. Until she was bumped, and stumbled and missed a plank. And her friend stepped on emptiness- and fell.

And it wasn’t because she wasn’t willing to replace it, but because- for a moment- she didn’t have a good grasp. She was willing to crawl back up and restore the footing- but it was too late. And now her friend was hurt that that solid ground that she counted on wasn’t there. And now that trust was broken.

Believe me, I’ve been there- on both ends.

Counting on someone else to be that sure footing.

And being the one responsible for placing the planks.

I’ve repeated this scenario over and over in my life. And honestly, they both suck.

But it’s not because I don’t want to trust.

And it’s not because I am not trustworthy.

It’s because ultimately- someone will fail. Or disappoint. Or just not be there. 

It is inevitable.  

We (I) try to be superhuman. And I have tried to build that bridge myself.

 I still do.

 All.

The.

Time.

And I fail. We all do.

And failing really bites. 

And as I thought about this conversation later in the day, I wondered about who really owns the placing of planks.

Maybe it’s not just one person’s sole responsibility to be ‘plankworthy.’

Maybe if both friends had a firm grasp on one end of each plank- then when one stumbled (as will always happen)- maybe the fall would be only a momentary stagger.

And of course, I’m not that na├»ve. Sometimes, there needs to be one who is stronger. One who takes over the bridge building for a time. A moment. Placing a few extra planks.  

It seems so simple, right?

And if it were, we all would have gotten it right. I would have gotten it right.

But it is. 

So complicatedly impossibly simple. 

To have faith that there is a dual grasp.  

To walk up and over this life with another person- friend or partner or child- knowing that each is strong enough to hold an end.

Knowing that bridges and ravines will be there.

And that there will always be a need for the placing of planks. 

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