Sometimes events happen so fast and unexpectedly we almost don’t even know what is happening.
I remember one time when I was a little boy, our family visited the White Sands National Monument in south-central New Mexico. It was summer. White Sands is really a pretty neat place. There literally is white sand dunes for as far as the eye can see. Huge tall dunes, too. And the sand is very fine – it’s soft to bare feet. The problem, though, is that White Sands in the summer is a very hot place. It is also very dry with very low humidity.
Anyway, we went for a family fun day, I think, complete with picnic lunch fixings, drink, and such. I think we also had snow saucers for slipping down the dunes. Of course, we had all the requisite water, sun shade, long sleeve shirts, and the like to protect from the sun and heat. I recall arriving and taking off like a wild thing – running full speed from the cover of the sun canopy up up up one of the tall, white sand dunes. I think my sister was with me, too.
We played – running, sliding, slipping, climbing, rolling all over one of the dunes near our picnic canopy spot. It was pretty neat. For awhile.
The thing is – more than the trip or dunes – I remember becoming very sick at White Sands. What happened was that without knowing it, the heat of the sun and sand and dehydration quickly took its toll on me and my sister. I remember feeling absolutely horrible – sick and nauseous. We made it back to our canopy and I know I literally had to lay down on a picnic table bench because I was so weak. And then the vomiting and dry heaves came along. It was bad for a little dude like me to be so sick. But the heat had been mercilessness. I’m sure I had been warned and I’m sure I had been offered plenty of liquids and sun screen, but I went unknowingly and probably unprepared and without regard for consequences into the heat of the sand – and I paid the price.
Funny thing. I don’t remember many details about that family outing other than that I was sick sick sick. And to this day, when I think of White Sands I think of puking and actually believing that I was going to die in the desert out under the sun canopy. Not fond memories, for sure.
And I think that most people who find themselves on a burning bridge didn’t mean to end up there and had hoped never to be there. They also probably didn’t have plans for getting off and out of the bridge’s fire and destruction as it slowly falls apart right under them. Of course, they had likely been warned to not go out there, to prepare and prevent, and to not make hasty decisions. People, no doubt, advised caution and common sense. But regardless of how much advice might have been proffered or how much intent there was to not get stranded out on a burning bridge, there they end up anyway.
Yes, there are people standing in the flames of self-created burning bridges. It is just how it is. If you are – right now – on a bridge caught up in emotional fire, here is what is going on with you.
1. At this moment, you are incapable of making decisions. Do not make any decisions.
2. You have lost the whole picture. You need more than what you are thinking right now.
3. Your pain is immeasurable right now. Quickly seek authentic and sincere assistance before you are irreparably damaged.
4. The last thing you need right now is a judgement on who is right or wrong. This is neither the time or place.
5. You may think you can do this alone, but you can’t. You need help.
6. Your best advice to survive this will not come from someone who has taken sides. You need someone objective to help.
7. This probably doesn’t seem like a very good praying time. Well, stop and pray.
8. You are angry, and in your anger, you will likely say and do things that you will later regret. Possibly forever. Try very hard to not maim anyone – you or someone else.
9. You are now about as vulnerable as ever. Perceived negative words and actions will hurt you tremendously. Be on guard and try not to absorb more than you can handle.
10. You will probably never remember exactly what is happening. Your senses have been replaced by emotion. This moment will never be perfectly remembered. This is time that time will forget. These moments will never serve any useful purpose in the future.
One can’t tell you how to act in the middle of a fire. Your emotions will take over. Of course, the best thing is to avoid these moments but when they happen, it will be difficult and possibly life-changing for you. Avoid, if possible, these situations with everything you have inside of you – never draw lines or set fire to bridges in a relationship. It is nasty business.
Prayers for you while you struggle with the demons that are inside of you. Ideally, reconciliation will come about and your bridge fires will be extinguished. Relationships can be reestablished. Love can conquer all.
Do not be quick in spirit to be angry. For anger is in the heart of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NLV)