I've been reading about suspension bridges. Built under precarious conditions, over chasms deep and wide and raging, suspension bridges make traversing a great divide possible.
Reading about James Roebling in 1951 who took the challenge - bridge the Niagara River Gorge - 825 feet across, 200 feet down, over rushing tumbling water 37.4 million gallons per minute. With faith, vision and a sense of purpose, Roebling built that bridge to the amazement of the world. First crossing with a kite, then a cable, then a carriage. He led the way and showed the impossible . . . was.
As I look through photographs I see that's what Paul did for so many of us.
Life and death so polar opposites. Or so it seems. And God? Seems so far away sometimes. When troubles come, stress invades, money dwindles and health escapes us . . . that chasm between where we are and where God sits . . . at times seems greater, deeper, and more dangerous in nature than Niagra Falls.
But Paul . . . what you did in such a gentle way . . . was you somehow create a bridge for so many of us to cross. Every surgery you faithfully and courageously endured, every treatment you embraced, every humorous angle in the suffering you found, every get together where you took the stage and made us forget OUR troubles . . . every one of those was a cable to the bridge you were building.
We did not see it at the time.
But days, weeks, months and a year has passed . . . and we got used to praying, got used to begging God for help, got used to looking for "the pony" in the piles of manure . . .
And now every time troubles come, stress invades, money dwindles and health escapes . . . there is a bridge to cross BECAUSE we saw you do it. You were afraid and still walked the walk. Your life was ending and you still had things that made you laugh and be grateful. You CHOSE to thank God instead of curse Him. As your friends, as your family, it was relavent to us, it mattered to us and it changed US. Now our job is to build bridges too - be God seekers too - walk the walk too.
Someday we will meet you on the other side of that great chasm.
Thank you for walking the walk and showing us how, as real people, we can live lives FOR God and WITH God.
Your life and the journey we walked with you, built a bridge.
Til we meet again on the other side . . . you taught us amazing timeless lessons and we are forever changed. Thank you for building that bridge and leaving such a powerful legacy that it ushers people over great chasms still . . . to a God that loves them.