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The Bridge

They were the most beautiful lyrics from a secular song I have heard!

When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all (all)
I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down


It’s the beautiful lyrics from the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel.  I think what makes the words so rich is the fact that we can all picture bridges.  We can picture the troubled water they sometimes hover over.  If we close our eyes we can even hear the sounds of the turbulent water and see the view looking down from the bridge.  Though the water is raging the bridge puts us over it and out of danger.  The parallel described in the song is harder to see but the correlation is there.  The person is willing to lay their self down like that bridge to literally put the other person over harms way.

Recently I wondered where these beautiful lyrics came from?  We know that Paul Simon wrote them but what gave him the idea?  Was it an event in his life or did someone say something that triggered such a beautiful picture?  I found that it was the latter.  Many years ago before the civil war in fact a Negro spiritual was sang called “Mary Don’t You Weep” or “O Mary Don’t You Weep”.  It is now termed a “slave song” and gave hope and inspiration for a better future.  The lyrics went like this:

If I could I surely would
Stand on the rock where Moses stood
Pharoah’s army got drownded
Oh, Mary, don’t you weep

Oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn
Oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn
Pharoah’s army got drownded
Oh, Mary, don’t you weep

Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
Smotin’ the water with a two by four
Pharoah’s army…

The Lord told Moses what to do
To lead those Hebrew children through…

The bridge over troubled water part was inspired by Claude Jeter the lead singer of The Swan Silvertones interpolation when they recorded the same song (Mary Don’t You Weep) which became their greatest hit.  He added the line “I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name”.  According to Anthony Heilbut, a gospel producer and historian,  Simon acknowledged Jeter’s contribution in person and also handed him a check as compensation.

It’s strange that from one line of the lyrics Simon picked out such a vivid description.  The song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” became the #1 song of the year in 1970!  It was a feel good song as people identified the deep sacrifice the song implies.  Helping someone in such a way as to be willing to do whatever it took to bring them out of a depressed state and into sunshine.  It is a selfless song and made people feel good because being selfless does that.  It is like giving to someone something that is truly needed.  It makes the giver happy and gives them joy.  Although the receiver of the gift gets the material reward it is the giver that gets the peaceful feeling that they did the right thing.


One of the wonders of the world is the Golden Gate Bridge.  Construction started in 1933 and the project was completed in 1937.  In the old days the only way to get across water was to have a boat.  I’m reminded of the Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn stories along the Mississippi River.  With the advent of the automobile there was a desire to make bridges that would allow us to drive over the water.  Depending on the layout different bridges were built to accomplish the feat.  Where possible a cement bridge might be built if the distance wasn’t far.  However for greater distances such as the Golden Gate Bridge special engineering designs had to be used.  They called bridges such as the Golden Gate Bride suspension bridges.  The key to building a bridge like that is the strength of the solid bases that hold the suspended cables which in turn supports the weight of the suspended bridge from one base to the other!  It took 70,000 tons of steel to accomplish such a mission.  In the end the bridge had these amazing statistics!

Total length of Bridge including approaches from abutment to abutment is 1.7 miles (8,981 ft or 2,737 m).

Total length of Bridge including approaches from abutment to abutment, plus the distance to the Toll Plaza, is 9,150 ft (2,788 m).

Length of suspension span including main span and side spans is 1.2 miles (6,450 ft or 1,966 m).

Length of main span portion of suspended structure (distance between towers) is 4,200 ft (1,280 m).

Length of one side span is 1,125 ft (343 m).

Width of Bridge is 90 ft (27 m).

Width of roadway between curbs is 62 ft (19 m).

Width of sidewalk is 10 ft (3 m).

Clearance above mean higher high water is 220 ft (67 m).

Total weight of each anchorage is 60,000 tons (54,400,000 kg).

Original combined weight of Bridge, anchorages, and approaches is 894,500 tons (811,500,000 kg).

Total weight of Bridge, anchorages, and approaches (1937) is 894,500 tons (811,500,000 kg).

Total weight of Bridge, anchorages, and approaches (1986)* is 887,000 tons (804,700,00 kg*).

Weight of Bridge, excluding anchorages and approaches, and including the suspended structure, main towers, piers and fenders, bottom lateral system and orthotropic redecking (1986) is 419,800 tons (380,800,000 kg*).

In 1989 a massive earthquake hit the San Francisco area.  Although several buildings and roadways were damaged including severe damages to the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge was not fractured.  When events like that happen however it is a reminder of how fragile we are and our man made projects are.  Man has accomplished much but only God can build the ultimate bridge.  That is the bridge that leads from death to life.

When man first sinned there was a wide canyon that separated man from God.  God decided to build a bridge so that man could cross over it to where God was.  Unlike any bridge that man could make God’s bridge will never break down.  You see God sent his only son in the form of a man to live and to die for the sins of all men.  With that supreme sacrifice the bridge was formed.  Like the Bridge Over Troubled Water song we take that bridge over the troubled water.  That is not to say that there will not be storms.  We may be knocked down on our journey, yet we know that the destination the bridge takes us leads to our victory.  You see the song by Simon & Garfunkel describes someone laying down like a bridge for the other person to cross over their troubled time.  In reality it is impossible for humans to accomplish such a mission.  Yet that is the actual mission that Christ took when he died for our sins.  He became the bridge not built with human hands but with God’s own hands.  Let the bridges that we see in our daily lives remind us of the ultimate bridge that God created for everyone.  May we always walk on the safety of God’s bridge and the destination it takes!

If you have never taken the bridge that leads to Heaven pray this prayer with me.  “Lord forgive me of my sins, come into my heart,  save me, and be my lord and savior.  I realize that you are the only bridge that leads to eternal life!  I will serve you the rest of my days!  In Jesus name, Amen”


A Different View

Last month marked the anniversary of the first man on the moon.  I remember July 20, 1969.  I was listening to the Detroit Tigers baseball game when suddenly the broadcast was interrupted by breaking news.  At the time I didn’t like the fact that they were interrupting my game to go live to the moon landing.  I can see that my point of view has changed from when I was 12 as far as what was important.  In a way I think some of the astronauts point of view changed too.

I think it is the most amazing picture I have ever seen.  I know that’s a big statement but when you think about the significance of the whole picture it is hard to disagree.  It is pictures of the earth taken by the astronauts as they are on the moon or flying over the moon.

The number of people that have seen this amazing view is very small.  Many of them have made comments about this fantastic view and the aura of how they felt when they were seeing.this remarkable spectacle!

Image result for view of the earth

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

— Neil Armstrong, Apollo Astronaut

“As we got further and further away, it [the Earth] diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man.”

— James B. Irwin, Apollo Astronaut

Image result for astronaut's view of the earth

“The view of the Earth from the Moon fascinated me — a small disk, 240,000 miles away. . . . Raging nationalistic interests, famines, wars, pestilence don’t show from that distance.”

— Frank Borman, Commander of Apollo 8

“I think the one overwhelming emotion that we had was when we saw the earth rising in the distance over the lunar landscape . . . . It makes us realize that we all do exist on one small globe. For from 230,000 miles away it really is a small planet.”

— Frank Borman, Commander of Apollo 8

Apollo 11 view of a crescent Earth

“The world itself looks cleaner and so much more beautiful. Maybe we can make it that way—the way God intended it to be—by giving everybody that new perspective from out in space.”

— Roger B Chaffee, NASA Astronaut

“Oddly enough the overriding sensation I got looking at the earth was, my god that little thing is so fragile out there.”

— Mike Collins, Apollo 11 Astronaut

“For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light—our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance.”

— Ulf Merbold, ESA Astronaut

“Suddenly, from behind the rim of the Moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth . . . home.”

— Edgar Mitchell, Apollo Astronaut

“Now I know why I’m here. Not for a closer look at the moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.”

— Alfred Worden, Apollo Astronaut

Image result for view of the earth

“Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled with the glory of a universe of lights, I saw majesty—but no welcome. Below was a welcoming planet. There, contained in the thin, moving, incredibly fragile shell of the biosphere is everything that is dear to you, all the human drama and comedy. That’s where life is; that’s were all the good stuff is.”

— Loren Acton, Physicist and Space Shuttle Astronaut

“It’s beyond imagination until you actually get up and see it and experience it and feel it.”

— Willie McCool, Space Shuttle Astronaut

“To fly in space is to see the reality of Earth, alone. The experience changed my life and my attitude toward life itself. I am one of the lucky ones.”

— Roberta Bondar, Neurologist and Space Shuttle Astronaut

“There is perhaps no better a demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”

— Carl Sagan, Astronomer

Image result for view of the earth

“Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

— Carl Sagan, Astronomer

“We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the earth.”

— William Anders, Apollo Astronaut

We all get so wrapped up in our tiny little world and it is so easy to do.  Like I was with my baseball game at the age of twelve we get tunnel vision on things that are unimportant. Maybe it is time that we get interrupted in our normal thinking!  Taking a trip to the moon would surely do us all good.  Looking back at the earth and realizing that it is small in comparison to the vast universe.  Realizing the beauty of all creation that God has so majestically formed.  With all of the universe and space out there it has to be a mind boggling experience seeing the earth (the most beautiful circle) and knowing that it is home to everything dear!  It surely would take our mind off of our individual problems as we see the big picture of life and our world.  Surely the picture would be forever in our minds and hearts as long as we lived!

3When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Psalms (8:3-5)

Image result for astronauts view of the earth and the stars

The Old TV

by Lewis Hamilton
From the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997

The old TV sat in the corner,
we haven’t played it in years
A picture never lights the screen
but no one’s shedding tears

The old TV used to play
at morning and at night
It never failed to play for us
It was such an awesome sight

Some new models came to the store
We bought one on that day
The old one was still going strong
but we moved it out of the way

The new TV played for a while
then started going bad
The picture was so pretty
but repair bills made us mad

We called the repairman over,
Come and fix our new TV
He worked on it for hours
there’s plenty wrong, you see

the repairman had to marvel
what’s this classic doing there?
He was looking at the old set
but no one seemed to care

There’s nothing wrong with this old set
as far as I can see
I’ll pay you cash to take it home
price will no object be

We could not understand just why
he liked something that old
This TV was the best one made
at least that’s what he told

There’s nothing wrong with being old
this one is tried and true
This one is proven over time,
the other one is just new

Your Bible is like that old TV
It has a lot to say
But some think it’s outdated
so they move it out of the way

Don’t always think that things are best
Just because they are new
The Bible is the Word of God
It’s proven, tried and true.

Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take
refuge in him.

Proverbs 30:5

And The Survey Said

With the recent passing of Richard Dawson my thoughts go back to the show that made him a big star “The Family Feud”.  I always liked the game and the idea of families actually competing against other families.  It was always entertaining to play along and come up with an answer that you knew had to be on the board.

There probably isn’t anyone out there who is unfamiliar with “Family Feud” because it  appears on the Game Show Network.  However, the updated “Family Feuds” do not compare to the original with Richard Dawson as the host.  He had a way of making the show funny and entertaining.  Every lady on the show got a good luck kiss and the men a firm handshake.  He was very quick with his comebacks which were usually making fun of the contestants weird answers.

Each member of the family individually had to give an answer to the survey that was on the board.  The survey usually had between 4 and 10 answers that were listed from the most popular to the least.  One hundred people were surveyed for these questions and those surveys made the boards for later shows.  If the contestant gave an answer that was on the board the team got the number of points the survey had for that answer.  For instance if 20 people said the answer the contestant gave, the team  received that many points.  After the first round Richard would announce that the points were now doubled, then tripled.  A strike was given if the team member did not get one of the answers on the board.  Three strikes before all of the answers were revealed resulted in the other family getting a chance to steal all of the points with one correct answer.  When a family got 300 points they won the game and had a chance to play big money.  Two of the family members were picked and one went off stage.  They were both asked the same questions and had to supply a popular answer.  Their scores were combined and if they reached 200 points they got $10,000.  If not their point value was doubled and that is the amount they received along with a chance to defend their championship against another family the next day.

The “Family Feud” was intriguing.  It had me picturing in my mind what members of my family I would have on the show if I were on there.  Mostly though it gave me a chance to yell at the TV when I had a good answer that the contestant just couldn’t come up with.  So many times we would watch as a family member just couldn’t even come up with a guess..They got the big buzzer and big X.  Of course it is much easier sitting there in my living room answering the questions than it was for someone on stage with millions of people watching.  Somehow though at the time I didn’t take any of that into account.

My memories of that show brings me to the basic backbone of the show which were opinions.  Everyone seems to have an opinion but I think more and more our opinions are alike.  For instance with the elections coming up this year we have received many phone calls from pollsters trying to track our opinion to issues and candidates.  What is really interesting to me is that they can interview maybe 2,000 people with samples designed around percentages of the population.  The population of their survey may be 2 million people.  Yet from the small sample of say 2 thousand they can conclude within 2 % how people will vote or how people think in that population group.  My conclusion is that because we all watch or hear the same media be it TV or radio we start thinking alike or similar to a large number of people.

It’s funny looking at the pictures in my high school year book from 1975 and comparing them to pictures of graduating seniors today.  Almost every guy in my class had very long hair.  That look was popular and it was the in thing.  I worked in a clothing department for men at that time.  A new suit had just came out.  It was called the “Leisure Suit”.  When guys came in looking for a suit they loved those “Leisure Suits”.  We sold those colorful shiny shirts to wear under them along with beads.  The  idea that they could wear them in a casual setting or wear a tie with them too made it a suit for all occasions. Today we don’t see many “Leisure Suits”.  If you happen to spot somebody wearing one it makes you think they are in a 1970’s time warp.  What was popular and the “in thing” back then would be laughed at today.

The “popular” Leisure Suit look

I’m thinking of other popular things in their time.  The yo-yo comes to mind.  How about the hula hoop, bell bottom pants, elevator shoes, the mini skirt and the list goes on and on.  I remember when I first came to college it seemed like everyone I ran into had a cigarette in their mouth.  People didn’t think of the health effects at that time.  At work I remember when break rooms were filled with smoke and smokers.  Today if people want to smoke they have to go outside and so many feet from the building.  My point is that times change and opinions change.  Things that were accepted back then are questioned now.  Things that were questioned are now accepted.  It has to be hard to ride the waves of public opinion yet in many ways we all do.  It is natural to want to be accepted and popular.

If you seek it everyone will give you an opinion.  The common phrase is “If I were you” and then they will give a detailed step by step of exactly how you should handle the situation.  We need to be careful about the advice we seek and from who.  In the Bible we see examples of mentor relationships such as Paul with Timothy.  Seeking advice from a God fearing moral based person can be a very rewarding thing!  Not being careful in who we seek advice can leave us drifting in the wind of popularity.

We all have known that something was wrong but did it anyway.  Even though maybe nobody else knew we did.  We felt that feeling that just wasn’t right in our being.  We felt the guilt after the incident and knew down deep it was wrong.  It may have been a “popular” thing to do at the time, but God puts a little gauge in us that measures if we are staying on the path.  That is why the lie detector test works.  It is natural for measurable physical differences to occur when someone tells a lie.  When that steady line becomes erratic just as the question is being answered it is slotted into the untruth category.

Just as the backbone of the “Family Feud” was the survey, the backbone for the Christian is the Bible.  Sometimes watching an old “Family Feud” show we can see how dated it is.  How the “popular” answer back then is laughable now.  The Bible stays the same and has throughout the years.  It is the foundation of our faith and the hope that lives within us.  When you need answers to life’s questions go there.  It will lead you on the right path no matter what the survey said.

The Bible vs The Cell Phone

Someone sent me this email and I thought it was very interesting in light of the popularity of cell phones these days!  I have written all of the material used in this blog up to now.  I’m going to change that for this particular thought.  I would like to give credit for this amazing comparison to the original writer.  Unfortunately I don’t know who that is.  But God knows and you will be blessed for the blessing you have shined on others! Thank you so much for analyzing a topic we can all relate to!

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?What if we flipped through it several times a day?What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go….hmm…where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think ‘where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

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