Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)
- TITLE: The Bridge to Glory
By Sandra Fischer
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“We’ve crossed a lot of bridges,” he heard someone murmur and realized he had spoken the words. Becca gave no response. Her eyes were closed, her dry lips half open, sucking air. He leaned close, so he could feel the shallow wisps of air against his cheek, like the kiss of butterfly wings.
So many bridges. The first time he saw Becca was as he was driving across a bridge. The image was framed forever in his memory – a split-second snapshot that etched itself into his mind and then his heart. There she was – standing by her disabled car - a slight figure of a girl, brown hair whipping across her face, arms crossed in frustration.. He smiled as he recalled the rear-view mirror reflection of her kicking the flat. Funny how one u-turn would change two lives forever.
His life had been so simple before he met Becca. The Marine Corps had been all he had known since enlisting. “Do your job; follow the rules; stay out of trouble.” Life was uncomplicated. He was content to be single, to serve his country, to have no other responsibility but his unit and himself.
The girl on the bridge changed all that. Was it the way she had stood watching him, her hand covering her mouth to stifle the urge to laugh, as he fumbled with the jack? Or was it the velvet touch of her hand in his as she thanked him? He had been captivated by everything about her, including her pretense that she truly believed the only reason he needed her name and phone number that day was to be sure she arrived home safely.
From that moment Pete had only one purpose in life - to share it with Becca. A bridge had brought them together and, not long after, they stood on another – a wooden footbridge in the city park where they recited their vows to love, honor and cherish one another until death. He recalled a nearby weeping willow swaying in the breeze, its leafy limbs seeming to bow low in prayer for their happiness. Pete wept unabashedly with joy that day and Becca simply glowed. He remembered thinking their bliss was like the waters of the brook bubbling below – if it rose any higher, it would overflow and sweep them away.
In a way, they were swept away – moving from place to place with Pete’s assignments. Becca was a trooper, accepting each move with aplomb, looking forward to whatever lay in store at each new duty call. She said the real “Commander-in-Chief” was the Lord who would direct their paths and be with them wherever they went.
And He was. Pete knew that without Him they would never have been able to cross the bridges that spanned their lives and there were many – real, emotional, and spiritual. Some took them to places they didn’t want to go, like the pedestrian bridge at the hospital to the neo-natal unit, where their precious Lizzie lay, needles and tubes piercing her, as awful as the fear penetrating their hearts. Thank you, Lord, for overcoming our fear and healing Lizzie.
Pete thought of other bridges in their twenty-five years together - ones made when chasms caused by sin and neglect were spanned with arms reaching out to one another in forgiveness. And then there was the most wonderful one of all – Becca called it the “Jesus Bridge”, because their preacher said it was built by Christ using only two pieces of wood and three nails to bear the weight of all the world’s sin. Praise God, dear Becca, for leading me to that eternal bridge. But this bridge. . . dear Lord, I don’t want to let her go!
Becca moaned and opened her eyes. She could no longer lift her head, but she winked at Pete. “Oh, honey,” his voice cracked. He squeezed his eyes hard to stem the tears, his mind desperately reaching for the words of promise – He will wipe away every tear. . .no more death. . .no more pain.
The butterfly wings fluttered no more. Pete opened his eyes to behold Becca’s serene countenance. A faint, knowing smile graced her lips, assuring him she was safe on the other side. She had crossed the bridge to glory. She was home.
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