Poles, Piers, Porches, and Pools

This addition of Thankful Thursday brought to you from peaceful shores thankfuljust outside the beautiful, historic city of Charleston, South Carolina. Today I’m thankful for vacation!

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Charleston, my heart is still grieved, but also stirred, as many flags in the area are still flying at half staff, remembering and honoring those who lost their lives. Like soldiers’ salutes or the FullSizeRender (6)collective bowing of heads in respect, the sentries of flag poles have held their charges low, draped like humble coverings over the dead and wounded. In the midst of pain, peace and remembrance soar in the colors of red, white, and blue draped across those flag poles.

And other poles… The sounds of clicks, swishes, and splashes echo like the ripples in the waters where we have cast, reeled, and waited: fishing poles. Cast, watch, wait, repeat. Relax, talk, wiggle toes in the water, feel the warmth of the sun, repeat. Ride the boat, walk the shore, squish the sand, pad the pier… A sturdy Adirondack chair adirondack-001sits confidently at the end of the pier and faces west. The sun sinks, the poles rise, the pier sways, and we are thankful. The pier stretches like a faithful friend who has been with us every step of the way, encouraging us out to the deep, to walk in faith, to explore and live. We walk the piers over the marshes, the river, the harbor, the ocean. They creak, they sway, they are imperfect, uneven, and splintered but they take us to places beyond the shore and open our eyes to sites otherwise unseen. They support us and let us rest for awhile.

I sit, I type, I start the morning with a welcoming  cup of coffee and an invigorating breeze. It’s vacation. 🙂 The downstairs porch is screened and looks out over the marina as the boats sway sleepily in the rocking water. The upstairs porch is open but the coffee and the view are the same. The sound is the same.FullSizeRender (7) It is both silent and deafening. The water repeatedly whispers to the shore and the seagulls and pelicans screech and swoop and shout out early morning conversations. The thoughts are loudest when the world is quiet and the schedule is undemanding and forgiving. Porches are sanctuaries, meeting places, and welcoming friends who encourage you to sit, still, reflect, and be thankful.

What vacation is complete without a little dip in the blue waters? restThe pool is nestled between palm trees, a gurgling fountain, and footprints of excited children. It is blue and warm and inviting. Splash bombs, back flips, and swim races transform my almost-adults into laughing, carefree children. It makes me smile. 🙂 It makes me think. It makes me thankful. Palm trees sway, the wind blows, the water splashes, the flagcrosslaughter and lightness lift my head and lift my spirit. The sky is blue, the wind is warm, and next to the pool another flag is waiting and waving and bowing. I am thankful.

A Bridge Over Troubled Water




1. a structure spanning and providing passage over a river, chasm, road, or the like. 

2. a connecting, transitional, or intermediate route or phase between two adjacent elements, activities, conditions, or the like

verb (used with object)                                                      thankful

1. to make a bridge or passage over; span
2. to join by or as if by a bridge
3. to make (a way) by a bridge

What a strange thought to come to mind on this Thankful Thursday: I’m thankful for bridges. The prompt? This headline:

Thousands form ‘Bridge to Peace’ Unity Chain to honor church shooting victims

The Ravenel bridge  is one of many sites that has been on our vacation “to see” list since we initially considered a Summer trip to Charleston. We’ve contemplated and planned and anticipated the trip for months, excited to study the wonderful architecture, stroll the historic streets, visit the beautiful gardens, bask on the warm beaches, and tour the many historic homes, churches, and Civil War sites. When news of the tragic church shooting exploded all over the media, there were so many analytical and emotional responses expressed nationwide: hurt, disbelief, anger, sadness, blame, hatred. It was difficult to fathom how widespread the ripple effect of the pain caused by this tragic loss of life would be. It was a senseless loss of brothers and sisters who had been walking in faith, worshiping, and praying…believers who had been welcoming and vulnerable in the face of hatred and evil. Sadly and selfishly however, somewhere beneath my initial expressions of grief and outrage simmered shallow, lurking questions: What will this mean for our visit? Will there be protests in the streets? Will we be looked upon with suspicion or resentment? Will there be danger?charlestonbridge

Then thousands of hands, hearts, and voices stood together, walked the Ravenel bridge, and stood in unity, in grief, in hope. What the enemy had intended for hate, hurt, and death transformed into love, hope, forgiveness, and life.

handbridgeThe betrayed and wounded painted a picture of grace and forgiveness. The hurt became the healers. In walking the bridge, they built a bridge.

In the literal sense, it would be impossible to travel our great nation without the many bridges spanning the mountains, valleys, and rivers. What a great idea: build a way across chasms, gorges, bridgeniterivers, and roadways! Pretty amazing really: architectural marvels and works of art at the same time! Someone dreamed, someone crafted, and they became reality.

Sometimes bridges can seem a little scary and uncertain… reaching, stretching across the unknown. What’s on the other side? Will it hold up under the weight? What would it be like to stay in one place, routine, sedentary and not go beyond the usual, the known, the comfortable…
Maybe that’s a stretch…  What about the metaphorical bridges: Spanning the gaps? Narrowing the differences? Meeting on the other side? Connecting? Making a way? What about this:
John 10:10
 Deep water, troubled water, raging water, murky and uncertain water…A secure bridge crosses over and provides safe passage and deliverance.
So, yes, I am thankful for bridges: bridges that connect, bridges that create unity and passage, bridges that traverse the gaps that divide, destroy, or swallow life and hope and love and unity. I am thankful for people who stretch and link and hold firm to connect and bond and strengthen and unite. I am thankful that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Stood in the gap. Became a bridge: bridgewoodthe way,
     the truth, the life. bridgewooden
bridge5**Special thanks to April Knight, worship artist, for the beautiful sketch “Charleston Strong.”   Check out her talent at http://www.scripturedoodle.com and order the print.  🙂