If life is like a movie whose surprises you don’t want to know upfront, that’s fine. For you young parents, this is a spoiler-alert. Don’t read any further, because there’s one plot-twist up ahead that may rock you.
If you’re still with me, lets put that into context. Remember the joke about the 16-year-old who, when she turned 26, exclaimed: “Amazing how much smarter my parents got in just 10 years.” That, my fellow time traveler, is an inexpressible surprise up ahead that may ride with you the rest of the way.
Here’s why. We’re all traveling across the same bridge at the same time. Kids, parents, grandparents. It’s the bridge from-here-to-eternity. Only each generation is crossing it at a different point in space & time.
That 16-year-old is just on the first part of the bridge so she can’t really see — much less understand — what’s up ahead; and what awaits at the far end. The young parent is further along, so he can look back at his steps just enough to see what’s still ahead for his children. Finally, the grandparent is nearing the end of the bridge, so she can look back, seeing and sensing journey in its entirety.
You see, we’re all on the same bridge all at the same time.
But we’re all experiencing and dissecting it quite differently. Each from our own particular placement on this bridge. Seeing its structure, strength, and sanctity as differently as the man who built it in contrast to the man who’s falling off it. Which is why when the elder says to the younger, “when I was your age,” his advice falls on ears that cannot hear. After all, they have about as much idea of what he’s talking about as they do if they had never stepped onto the bridge.
Here, then, is the spoiler alert. Wherever on that bridge you are right now, you eventually discover life’s largest little surprise. Why do the generations find it so hard to communicate? Because this same bridge is not the same trip for each of us at the same time.
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