Two months after breaking my jaw in 2016, I posted Emily Dickinson’s lovely poem. Given today’s troubles, I’m as uncertain now as I was then. How am I to live my life? My comments follow, lightly edited.
Faith – is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what We see
Unto the Scene that We do not –
Too slender for the eye
It bears the Soul as bold
As it were rocked in Steel
With Arms of Steel at either side –
It joins – behind the Veil
To what, could We presume
The Bridge would cease to be
To Our far, vacillating Feet
A first Necessity.
Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995
Emily describes an impossible Pierless Bridge stretching out, with no horizon in sight but the sky and water. It doesn’t seem to have visible supports or buttresses. Instead, it seems to stretch out not in front of me, but with me, step by step, as I make my pierless way across the water.
My feet vacillate, uncertain where to go. I’m far from the shore, maybe not far to go. But I don’t know how much farther, or what I’ll find when I reach the goal.
Boldness and courage seem paramount. Closing my eyes, I feel my way along. Not with my hands, but through the bare soles of my feet connecting with what must surely be a mammoth construction of steel, boulders and cement. How could there not be a pier?
I open my eyes, hoping for a glimpse of the goal, but see nothing ahead and nothing behind. Even more distressing, what’s supporting me is no larger and no more visible than one slender, fragile thread of a spider web.
Closing my eyes, I grope along, too far out to turn back. I don’t feel bold or courageous. The way is precarious. I’m full of questions and more than a bit of doubt.
I don’t have a map or a friendly GPS system to tell me when to leave one foot behind and shift my weight onto the other foot. I just know I’m being drawn and supported by something or someone greater than myself.
Is this journey about strengthening my faith? Perhaps the point isn’t my faith, weak or bold. In fact, I can’t believe that by the time I’ve arrived at the goal, my faith will be strong.
Before my faith and before my birth there was someone or something else. I imagine the Source of my life greeting me from within the Veil to which Faith leads me. Here is the One who birthed me. The One who boldly and courageously watches for me from the other side of my human life, spinning out as needed a fragile yet steel-buttressed thread of Faith—my Creator’s Faith in me. Faith that leads me home, just as I am and yet will be.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 June 2016, reposted 29 July 2020
Image found at pinterest.com