I imagine that there is a connection between us and the next place that we go. And by next place that we go, I mean that place where we fully encounter the divine and are joined with the Saints who have gone before us, and the saints who are yet to come. I imagine that the places whether real or transcending are close together, perhaps even the same place. Like a walking bridge in a park.
I think of one park in particular that happens to be in New Orleans, Louisiana where the vegetation is thick and green and shiny as it drinks the moisture from the air. There’s a bench facing the bow of a creek and as you turn your head to survey the surroundings, taking in all the beauty of creation, a stone walking bridge just off to the side catches your eye. If you should choose to walk towards it and then step onto it, you are transported to the other side of the small creek running below it. A creek so small that if you were to step in it your toes would hardly get wet. As you step forward and move across the bridge, your view begins to change all the while remaining the same. And when you get to the other side of the bridge you find yourself in a new place where you’ve always been.
I imagine that the places whether real or transcending are close together, perhaps even the same place. Like a walking bridge in a park.Ivy Schulz
Walking across the very same bridge
I imagine birth and death to be like this. I know it to be true. You see, just a few months ago I was at the deathbed of a woman from the congregation I serve as a pastor. As we prayed beside her bed she took her last breath and her husband of 58 years said, “She’s gone.” And just after he spoke those words a lullaby played over the sound system of the hospital. You see, when a baby is born, Brahm’s Lullaby sounds throughout the hospital so that we can rejoice in the new life.
As this precious child of God came into the world, I imagine that my beloved friend who had just died was walking across the very same bridge that baby was crossing. My friend, a grandmother and great-grandmother herself, probably waved to this child as they passed over the water on the walking bridge in the place that is in the same place but different location. She probably gave the child a blessing and word of encouragement. “You’re gonna like it there. So many people to love you and be with you. I’ll see you again when you cross back over the bridge again someday.”
Two saints passing each other on a brisk Saturday morning, each with their own paths to take. One to new life and one to eternal life bridged by their God.
Ivy Schulz is a pastor of a Lutheran congregation in rural North Dakota, USA. She loves to travel, ride her Harley Davidson and go camping with her family. Faith informs her worldview but does not restrict it. In fact, faith opens her up to encountering the Divine in unlikely places and unlikely people.