If you’re reading this, it’s probably Saturday already. Being on the West Coast, I have a couple of hours of Friday left, so… “Friday Thoughts” it is.
There has been so much sad news lately. The Puget Sound area lost a police officer last week, and this week was his memorial. Through my job, I help and have met many emergency responders, so the loss feels personal. There’s also the fatalities of the flu season…I can’t help but worry for the health of my family and friends. Even the Hawaiian “missile alert” last Saturday was sobering (though joked about), because people believed it. As usual, I’m very excited for the Winter Olympics – it’s one of my favorite TV events – but I’m also uneasy; is something political going to happen, like last time?
To combat these morbid thoughts, I’m striving to appreciate what I have right now and not get hung up on trivialities.
One thing I want very much to do is maintain the bridges in my life, whether that’s online or in person, at work or in free time, with hobbies or with people. If there’s no good reason to burn a bridge, I see no reason to let it rot. This week I had an opportunity to email a professor who had helped me a lot at one point. Though some time has gone by, he remembered me and the belated thank-you was not lost. It’s just little things like that…a bridge is a bridge, and who’s to say it has no value?
Even harder are the bridges that we cross everyday with the people immediately in our lives. I try to be a good sister, daughter, and coworker, but sometimes I fall miserably short. All too easily I fall into ruts in the bridge, and I don’t reach out to people when I should, or I don’t treat them with all the appreciation they deserve. When I do, amazing things can happen.
In the last year, I discovered an older coworker of mine loves to read. (It was Korda’s Lawrence of Arabia biography on his desk that spoke to me… kind of like Goodreads’s Compare Books “in real life.”) Despite the generational gap, we have had some surprisingly deep conversations on books and history that we’ve read. Though few and far between, those types of discussions are the best. I am trying to keep that bridge alive, because the only thing more delightful than talking about books online is talking about them face to face. Not only that, but we work better together now that we’ve found some common ground and understanding.
To carry the analogy further – maintaining bridges is literally going out on a limb. You don’t always know how people are going to respond. Sometimes you won’t know if it’s worth it till it’s…well, completed. Still, I always find you gain something in the process of bridge-building, even if you can’t see the end outcome yet. With books, you might not change someone’s opinion, but you could change their perceptions.
This is so true, especially if you can connect through a similarity in reading or books. Keeping relationships warm or alive is a lot of work, but as you said, it can be well worth it. I think reaching out to professors or speakers or others who have touched our lives in some way, even minor, is especially encouraging to them, whether we do it face-to-face or formally in a note. You never know, but it also could be the beginning of a \”new bridge.\”
Ruth, absolutely! Some of my biggest regrets have been not keeping in touch with people. It's sometimes nerve-wracking to reach out, but I guess that just means I need more practice. 🙂