Water Under the Bridge – The Waves of Process

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stephanie  Stephanie Hoffmeyer
Very recently, my sister was trying to teach my 6 year old niece a life lesson about thinking for one’s self. My niece was copying a behavior of some of her friends that my sister did not think was appropriate for a 6 year old girl. After a wily exchange, my sister finally asked my niece, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do the same?” To which my niece replied, “Well… is there water under the bridge?”

Hilarious, when you really play this out in your head. And, kudos to my little niece for her critical thinking skills. Such a smart little cookie. She clearly takes after her Aunt Steph.

While this little scenario doesn’t really exemplify “Water Under the Bridge,” it got me thinking – what does it take for someone to say to another “Ahh, it’s water under the bridge?”  Time? Forgiveness? Critical thinking? Introspection? All these and more?

At the moment, I have a close friend who is experiencing the grieving process in full force. He’s at anger. He’s struggling not only with loss, but also with the entire process. Anger is particularly difficult on him because:

  1. He’s not an angry person by nature.
  2. He’s a forgiving, kind, patient and reasonable person.
  3. He’s not accustomed to feeling this type of anger and I suspect he doesn’t feel he currently embodies any of the aforementioned traits in #2. He simply doesn’t feel himself.

He so badly wants to get to “Water Under the Bridge.” I encourage him to not resist the emotions he’s going through. Further, that he doesn’t have to act on the emotions, just sit with them in order to get through them. I’ve been taught and actively practice allowing my emotions to come through me without resistance. I have found and have witnessed that when we don’t resist our emotions, the ups and downs of whatever process we are in will shorten. Or, at least be more manageable and allow for the room to be responsible with ourselves.

Moreover, in allowing our emotions to move through us, we realize our reaction to things external are completely in our control. Nobody can make you do or feel anything. Empowering ourselves with this mindset softens one’s outlook. It invites forgiveness, understanding and even empathy. It allows the water to pass underneath the bridge.

When we hear, “Ahh, it’s water under the bridge,” perhaps think about the process it may have taken to get there. Maybe it’s a phrase that garners more respect that we truly give it.

Maybe it can be the distraction of life as we know it that helps get us there. Maybe it’s the focus on the process (like with my friend) that helps get us there. But, in either case, we forgive, we allow time to dull the pain of the scars we have. And, we arrive at the bridge to watch the water go under it.

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