In Durham, on S. Gregson Street, there is a bridge that has been labeled the “can opener bridge.” The bridge is a railroad bridge over Gregson Street and, since 2008, it has been the scene of 101 accidents as trucks have tried to drive under it only to be wedged beneath it or have the top of the truck peeled off (hence, the nickname).
It seems that North Carolina law allows trucks to have a maximum height of 13 feet, 6 inches, the NC Department of Transportation recommends a bridge underpass clearance of 14 feet, and the “can opener bridge” has a clearance of 11 feet, 8 inches.
One wonders how a driver thinks that he is getting through. The bridge will mysteriously rise and allow the truck to pass? The road will sink? The sign is labeled incorrectly (“Oh, come on! That can’t be right. Who makes an underpass so low?”)? In the article I read, a tow truck driver who basically makes a living off of the bridge said, “I think a lot of drivers are distracted….There’s all kinds of excuses, but the bottom line is really they’re not paying attention.”
Sometimes, and perhaps this is just me, I feel like I’m trying to get a 13 foot, 6 inch life through an 11 foot, 8 inch clearance. I’m just carrying too much baggage. If I could let go of some things, release some cargo, the journey might be smoother and I could certainly avoid lengthy detours and go directly under what lies before me. My spirit is too cluttered. I get distracted, ignore the warning signs and plow ahead only to get stuck by my own load. Then I need help to get out (and I’m so good at asking for help).
Perhaps you know something about that. Perhaps you carry around some baggage you need to unload. Anger. Or resentment. Or a grudge. Or a very old hurt. Perhaps a bit of jealousy or regret or guilt. Things that we sometimes say “weigh us down” because we just keep adding them to an already full stack of feelings and emotions and cart it all around. And then, we get stuck and can’t find a way out.
Sunday, we’ll read a story of a man so burdened with demons of all sorts that when Jesus asked his name, he responded “Legion” (Mark 5:1-20). Mark tells us that Jesus released him, helped him unload the truck and travel lighter. We’ll talk and pray together about how Jesus can help us do that, too, as we finish our “Decluttering” series by considering how the healing grace of Jesus can “declutter our spirit.”
I hope you can navigate all the traffic hazards (seen and unseen) and get here Sunday. The conversation will be richer if you’re a part of it. See you on the road.
Grace and peace.