Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)
TITLE: The Timmies
By Carol Sprock
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Surprised by my thoughts, I remembered a story that friends of mine, Lois and Jay, once shared. Nature lovers slowed by age, they enjoyed drives that submerged them in a gaspingly beautiful encounter with God’s creation. Yet for Lois, some of their drives became treacherous endurance races.
One late spring, following the meandering curve of Lake Michigan to the straits of Mackinac, they reveled in the intense blend of unnameable greens back-dropped by deep blue water sparking with sundrops. Every turn in the road or cresting of a hill opened another window on God’s magnificence. Soon they ran out of adjectives and fell into silent wonderment. Content in that quietness, they reached the hauntingly graceful Mackinac Bridge. Paying the toll with money Lois handed to him, Jay puttered over the first mile with its gradual rise. By this time, evening was padding its way to them, leaving paw-prints of startling pink-orange across the horizon of Lake Michigan to the left, faintly shadowed in the increasingly mauve-purpled waves of Lake Huron to their right. Turning to Lois to share the moment, Jay nearly lost control of the vehicle, seeing only water through the passenger window. Then looking downward, he saw her lovely bottom quivering against the side of the seat, her head resting on the car floor between her feet, hands over her head.
“Lois, what’s wrong?” he cried, creeping past “Do Not Stop” signs, desperately wishing he could disobey.
Lois twisted her head toward him and mumbled into her left calf, “Too high. Far down. Open. Scare.” At least that’s what Jay heard.
Ignoring her whimpers, Jay increased speed, teeth gritted, hands white-knuckled. Once across the bridge, he swung into a small parking lot. A bridge official strolled to their car, watched Lois slowly unwrap herself into an upright sitting position, and drawled, “A bit anxious, were we?”
With sweat-tousled hair and smeared mascara, Lois glared in response and heard, “Sorry, ma’am. That bridge can be a frightful experience. I’ve driven several people over because they had the heeby-jeebies and couldn’t drive themselves. Call ‘em ‘Timmies,’ we do, being so timid. Sometimes, though, when I feel that bridge sway during a thunderstorm, the waves breaking right under me, I get a bit nauseous myself.” Frantically, Jay waved his finger across his throat, signaling the man to shut up—even as Lois became a seasick shade of green and began melting to the floor. Mouthing a “Gotcha,” the official sauntered off.
Because of her Timmies, Lois had missed one of her greatest joys, fear over which she had no control pressing her into the dark, cramped space, uncaring of the spectacular artistry sprawling about her, that space too frighteningly open. Running my pencil back and forth over the cross, I asked, Am I a Timmie when experiencing the sideswipes of life or hearing God’s invitations to daring adventures of trust and dependence? Have I missed completely experiencing God’s love and majesty because I saw only the intimidating, unbroken cosmos between heaven and earth?
When the Timmies attack, the Spirit nudges me toward Romans 8: “Obsession with self…is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. … [So] get on with your new life…. There are things to do and places to go! [This resurrection life] is adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’” (taken from 5-17, The Message). God’s Spirit reminds me that I am forever saved by crossing the Jesus Bridge into life, a life whose open spaces overflow with God’s love for me, a God who is on my side. And absolutely nothing, not even the Timmies, can drive a wedge between God and me.
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