I am safely suspended between the tensions of grief and gratitude— Standing upon A bridge Built To hold The reality Of being human. I am vulnerably stable As I stand Wondering About And Wandering To The medal planks Laid out ahead of me. So, I walk upon A bridge Built To capture The magnitude of strength Running through the wires of Sorrow Alongside the Pillars of Joy. Here, I am securely fearful Of all that is Behind Beneath And Before me, As I stand At the mercy Of faith guiding me Onward. I walk slowly: A patient urgency. One must Move forward. … One must also Stop. To breathe. To see. To listen. So, I pause upon A bridge Built To hold me, All of me, Every ounce of me That exists Beyond and within The joy and the sorrow The grief and the gratitude. All of me Is here— The anger The shame The frustration The confusion The peace. All of me Is safely suspended Upon This paradoxical Piece of iron— Making no sense And needing no sense To make. I am held And that is all That any fragile Being Needs. ... … Will it hold All Of me? Or Just the one face Of reality People want to see? I take steps, Slowly For the crowd is watching And my pride is rising While My stubbornness takes me by the hand And Speaks— “Walk quickly, There are people to please” Shame is close by too And She begins to scream To be louder than the stubbornness besides me She speaks— “Leave the grief And the gratitude too This bridge was not meant to be walked by you.” She gets closer now This time, As I am frozen in my fear, She whispers In my ear “No bridge can hold All of you Here. So, just stay with me. Fear and I will hold you dear” I am confronted with The strength of Manipulation And Isolation … Stilled by my shame I quietly aim To leave the bridge It is safer, Right? Wrong. Safety within my fear Misleads me To believe I can control what lies ahead of me It holds me Back— From my dreams. I don’t Want to go Back. So, I choose to believe In the paradoxical mystery Beneath my feet. I walk on. And trust this bridge to Hold me. All of me.