We've all heard the term "Burning Bridges".  When I happen to think of it, I think of a long wooden bridge between two cliffs that goes up in a huge dramatic puff of smoke.  When the smoke clears, the two people on either side can finally see each other.  It's a clear sign something is over because there is no way to cross to each other anymore.  The bridge and the relationship has burned to a crisp.
 
I happened to be talking to someone the other day and instead of saying "burning the bridge" I said "breaking the bridge".  It was an interesting play of words and made me think about how we have broken bridges (or hurts in relationships) between us that need repair.  Relationships can be love, family, friends, co-workers - anyone that we can have a bond with - that's a lot of bridges!
 
Imagine a wooden bridge that has been through weather and the harsh elements.   Pieces are weak and falling, chunks of wood are missing here and there, it's shaky and really scary to cross.   With a little care and caution, the bridge can be crossed but for how much longer?  What happens if we do nothing to fix it and it's no longer passable?
 
There are times we would risk our lives to cross that bridge.  The love and care we have for that person is greater than the idea we are going to fall.  It could be that we tell someone we love them or we do something for them to have or feel better.  In that situation, this builds the bridge up and makes it stronger.  
 
However, there could be actions over a period of time that cause hurts, sadness, mistrust or other barriers that create holes in that bridge.  The closeness between two people starts to deteriorate.  The journey to the other side becomes harder and harder.  We may decide the risk isn't worth it or we aren't willing to cross to the other side as much.  This could be communication breakdowns, no willingness to spend as much time together, doubt, fear and sadness.  The heart starts to protect itself and the bridge to each other starts to fall apart.  The journey to the other side becomes harder and harder because the risk to fall or injure ourselves and our hearts is too great.  The gaps get too big.
 
Even trying to repair the bridge can be damaging it.  Both sides want the other to fix the hurts.   "Why can't you just come over here and fix this?" can be replied with "It's closer to you - why don't you just fix it?"  This can be symbolic of someone saying they are sorry and the other person not accepting it.  No matter how they fix it, the repair never holds long enough.  It turns into a battle of wills - who is right?  Who is going to fix it all?  That person caused it, they should fix it all, right?
 
There have been times in past relationships where I wouldn't even meet someone close to the middle.  I was on my side and I wasn't going to say I was sorry or repair the damage I had done.  Or, I received a "sorry" and wouldn't accept it.  If I worked on building the relationship back up, then our structure could have become stronger.  But I wasn't willing to do it.  My thought was "Why make it any stronger?  Who said I was going to cross over again anyway?"
 
If a bridge isn't burnt, it's still there.  It still can be fixed or it can be burnt to a crisp.  We have a choice.
 
The reminder of what is there, the tattered remains, is staring you in the face.  Crossing seems to be getting scarier and scarier.  The point of no return is coming closer so we have two choices - fix it or burn it.  
 
So if you have a broken bridge, you can fix it by taking small steps to fix it inch by inch.  Healing those wounds can be reinforcing the bridge with love, caring, kind words, attention and hope as you make your way over to the other side.  At that point, it doesn't matter who makes the repairs or how much each person has done as long as it is made stronger so you can reach each other easier.  
 
It doesn't matter how long it takes or how you do it, as long as you're bringing it back to strength and support, it will then reward you in kind by being a unshakable bond.
 
Remember, once you burn a bridge, you have to start from scratch to rebuild.  Establishing that bond with that person again becomes much harder.  The baggage of the old bridge, the old relationship, hinders the building of the new one.  It is more laborious and time consuming.  While this may be completely worth it, why not repair what's already there instead of starting from scratch?
 
Some relationships and situations need a match and no more visits to each other but some relationships just need a little extra attention and TLC.  Once you do that, no weather or elements can take that bridge or your relationship down.  
 
Look at the bridges in your life - do they need some repair?  You may be surprised at how much stronger your relationships are with a little extra attention to that bridge between the two of you.  It then becomes a pleasure to cross, not a death defying journey.
 
~Copyright 2012, Mary D'Alba (Spiritualitygirl)~