When the bridge is gone, the narrowest plank becomes precious

When the bridge is gone, the narrowest plank becomes precious. Rotted Pier in Vieques

Every now and then a phrase or certain quote comes along that will not leave my head and heart, and as it lingers it ushers in a torrent of fresh insight that in turn stretches outward and beyond. When the bridge is gone, the narrowest plank becomes precious, is just such a phrase that many of us have known for ourselves and have watched firsthand within the lives of many others. Sometimes it’s not about rushing to rebuild the bridge but finding that tattered plank and holding on to it for dear life. Other times that narrow plank becomes the bridge we need. Here’s what I mean.

When the bridge is gone


As a part of the professional work that I was doing, and within pastoral care settings that continues still, I have had the privilege of counseling and caring for people for decades when their ‘bridge’ went out, when hardship, hurt and mayhem rained down upon their lives. When help arrived, for some it came by simply caring and listening, by being present to the hurt and helping people sketch a new map moving forward.

Of course there were also times when so much more was needed depending on the situation. And when the courts and cavalry of social workers swept in to do the work that they had to do, they sometimes not only cleared away debris, they hauled away those precious narrow planks as well.

We all need something to hang on to no matter how tattered that thing may seem to others; a wrinkled old note from someone far but near to the heart; a map, any map, even if it ends at the bridge we planned to cross; and hope, however dim, splintered and ill-advised we’re told it is. That thing, that plank, may be what we need to find our way to build tomorrow.


Notes and Resources

“When the bridge is gone, the narrowest plank becomes precious” is a Hungarian Proverb

Getting Through Challenging Times. A selection of quotes here at Rise This Day that have been carefully selected hold and give us hope.

Realistic Sources of Hope, In Psychology Today, by Marty Nembo, Ph.D. I offer this here on the chance that some readers, if their own inner and emotional “bridge is out,” can at least have somewhere to turn for additional resources. Know too, that I can also be contacted via the comment box below, which of course can remain confidential. – K.L.

Text and image by Kevin Lee

Author: Kevin Lee

In a nutshell, Kevin fesses up to the following: He's a retired youth advocate-counselor, a blogger, writer, photographer, rower, Friends Minister, grandpa of six and married to a terrific woman for 43 years and counting!

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