It was long and narrow and looked to be about a hundred years old. It was made of rope and wood that was so weathered, you almost could not tell one from the other. It looked like it might fall completely to pieces if you blew on it too hard.
There was no other way across.
She could give up and go back. But that was not in her nature. So she stood. For a long time. With her head tipped first one way and then the other, she considered and she reconsidered. Then she remembered one of her father’s favorite sayings … nothing ventured, nothing gained.
She put her right foot upon the first board.
That small weight set the bridge bucking with a ripple that she watched, frowning, travel all the way to the other end. She slowly removed her foot from the bridge as she remembered one of her mother’s favorite sayings … fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Thinking furiously with her breath coming in rapid and ragged gasps, she fought to calm herself. She couldn’t decide who to “listen” to, her father or her mother. One seemed to be telling her to go. The other seemed to be telling her to stay.
Then she remembered the one thing her parents always agreed on.
“Child,” they would say, “you can never know the ultimate outcome no matter how hard you might try to figure it ahead of time. So just do the best you can and hope for the best result.” She could see them both in her mind’s eye as if they were shining, full of light.
She took a very deep breath and let it out slowly. She had never liked heights … or indecision.
She firmed up her resolve and put her left foot on the first board. Once again, the bridge bucked and rippled, but it did not deter her. She set her right foot ahead of the left on the next board and when it did not crack and plunge her into the abyss, she put her right in front of her left.
She paused for a moment, one foot on one board and the other on another, and her frown turned into a small smile. Then she went resolutely onward, keeping her eyes on the far away end.
As she crossed the bridge, one cautious step after another, she reflected that much of life is like this. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other until you have reached what you wished to reach. And before she knew it, she had crossed the bridge and was ready to continue her journey.