About Bridges

Wherever I walk or happen to be, anything may beckon me to take a picture. Sunrises and sunsets still catch my eye but lately, trails, pathways and bridges call to me. I began to ponder why I was so attracted to these images. The answer came quickly and with certainty. During my student life, papers, exams, not even intense discussions with peers compare to my life as I am experiencing it now. Now, is real. Everything before was a rehearsal without costumes on an empty stage. All the studying, discussions and reflections have not prepared me for the real life I live now. I am on bridges over uncertain terrain in between boundaries headed toward the unknown region in myself.

Carolyn Myss in her meditations in Entering the Castle ,Entering the Castle inspired by Teresa of Ávila begins with the Entry Prayer
The Interior Castle“I cross the bridge into the silent bliss of my Castle. I close the drawbridge and forbid all outside influences from entry into this holy place that is my soul. Here in my Castle, I am alone with God. Under God’s light and companionship I discover the depth and beauty of my soul. I embrace the power of prayer. I open myself to divine guidance. I surrender myself to become as a channel for grace” Teresa of Ávila reveled to her community the inward journey of the soul. Carolyn Myss takes a closer look at this journey in Entering the Castle, the journey one takes to be closer to the Divine in our innermost being.
Bridges allow us safe passage way over turbulent waters, deep chasms, and rough terrain toward new places.
vcm_s_kf_m160_160x120 While living in the East Bay area I delighted taking pictures of the Golden Gate while my husband drove over the bridge.

Several years later, in the Tampa Bay area, Tampa Bay BridgeI was doing the driving and taking the pictures. Bridges serve as crossovers between boundaries. Take the beautiful bridge over the Rio Grande linking the US and Mexico. HomePageTraffic Bridge

Bridges are also metaphors for crossing from one state of life to another one. Like the bridge between two countries allowing passage between the borders of two countries, a bridge serves as a passageway between one to another stage of life.
I am walking such bridges now. Though crossing the Golden Gate and the Tampa Bay Bridge was always an exciting experience the ones I “walk” now are arduous over uncertain and unfamiliar terrain. I take comfort in the seemingly trivial account of Jacob passing over the Jabbok, a river, the first border leading to Canaan in Genesis 32, according to Swedenborg, this passage over the boundary river signifies the beginning process of living the truths of faith not just knowing them. These steps are taken towards the soul’s ultimate goal: to enter a heavenly state signified the promised land of Canaan. Robert R. Leichtman in Building The Bridge to Heaven: Connecting with the Light, explores this same process. He suggests that the spiritual passage requires us to learn from problems which force us to gain wisdom. Building the Bridge to Heaven: Connecting with the Light
Linda Shearer painting, Moon Bridge represents my present state of in betweeness.
Thank you Linda.
Moon Bridge

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Gabriella was born in Budapest Hungary. Some of her family still resides in Hungary. After escaping the Communist regime in the aftermath of the 1956 Revolution, Gabriella's family settled in Cleveland OH. She graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and attended college but did not earn a degree. She met her husband in Devon PA, and soon they were married and began family life in PA. Only a few years married, John and Gabriella moved to FL to be with Gabriella's aging parents. Two o their three children were born Florida. After the children began school, Gabriella volunteered in schools and libraries. Her love for swimming drew her into the world of aquatics. Part time coaching jobs evolved into career aquatic management. Her children out of the home, Gabriella worked full time as an aquatic manger, coach and swim instructor. In 2001, John and Gabriella's plans to ease into retirement in Tucson changed drastically when John suffered a heart attack in 2002. John’s amazing recovery after bypass surgery allowed Gabriella to seek a new career. It was a life changing experience for both of them. Gabriella returned to school at the University of AZ and John took over household responsibilities. A shift occurred in their lives. Gabriella felt called to become a spiritual care provider. Preparing for seminary, she chose interdisciplinary program, combining Psychology, Family and Religious Studies. She graduated with honors in 2006. Gabriella and John moved to Berkeley for her to begin seminary at the Pacific School of Religion. Gabriella was accepted on the ordination track in the Swedenborgian Church of North America. Her goal was to becoming a chaplain. John's health crisis necessitated a move from Berkeley back to Tucson in 2008. Gabriella transferred to Earlham School of Religion to complete the Master’s program. In her senior year, working in required Supervised Ministry, Gabriella created a dual ministry; Circle Community, a sharing, praying and studying support group and worked as a crisis advocate in Tucson area hospitals. Most of her family was present in Cincinnati OH when Gabriella was ordained in July 2012. In July of 2011 she was ordained in the Swedeborgian Church and accepted a call to be the pastor of the New Church of Southwest FL. Soon after her ordination Gabriella accepted a call to become the pastor to the New Church of Southwest FL in 2011. John, a VA patient needed comprehensive medical care unavailable in Fort Myers. For Gabriella ministry begins at home. Once again new a health crisis changed their life. They moved back to Tucson AZ. Back in Tucson, Gabriella found ministry opportunities with Circle Community, did workshops and conducted weekly Prayer Meditations at Rincon U.C.C. She completed a course in Spiritual Direction at the Hesychia School for Spiritual Direction. In mid October 2012, Gabriella began to work as a Chaplain for Harmony Hospice. The job all she had expected. She found great satisfaction working with patients and their families. Gabriella left the per diem position with Harmony for a full time job with Valor HospiceCare. Here too, she worked with grieving families, conducted grief support groups and lead Community Memorial services during the same time that her husband's health was spiraling downwards. Gabriella resigned her job to care for John in the last months of his life. John died in April 2014. Life became chaotic. An intense search a chaplain position in Tucson and other parts of the country was unsuccessful. Peers suggested Gabriella look into open churches with the Swedenborgian Church. She candidated in Kansas with two churches. She was called to pastor the Pretty Prairie and Pawnee Rock churches in July 2014. A new life began with the move to rural Kansas. In August 2014, Gabriella began to serve as the Pastor of the two churches.

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