It was a long time in coming: a 72-degree sunny day. Yesterday was beautiful, and was the Spring day we’ve been hoping for. I checked with my wife, Sharon, to see if it was okay that I spent the day riding my motorcycle, and she said, “Sure.” She won’t ride with me until it reaches nearly 80 degrees, so I set out alone at 10am in search of another covered bridge.
I am trying to see all the covered bridges in Virginia. There are 38 of them. Many of them are farther than I care to ride in one day, but I’m trying to see as many I can. Yesterday, I set off to see the Berea Church Covered Bridge, located about 10 miles northwest of Fredericksburg.
The traffic was not light, but not heavy either as I rode from Shadwell up toward Gordonsville on Rt. 22/231. It has to be one of the most picturesque roads in Virginia. It runs through rolling hills and through Virginia’s country estates north of Keswick. I can imagine fox hunts on some of these rambling estates with grand entrances and names like “Edgehill Farm”, “Seven Oaks”, and “Fielder’s Choice Farm.” Sadly, many are for sale.
Anyway, it was a 110-mile ride to the bridge. I was excited to see it, but I rode right past it at first, and I wondered, since I didn’t see it, had it been torn down? There are three fairly-new/brand-new subdivisions and Berea Church Road is a newly-paved, newly-curbed road. I rode until the road reached a dead-end and turned around. I rode back for a quarter-mile, and then I saw it. It was no wonder I missed it.
Berea Church Covered Bridge is now, evidently, on private property. There is a run-down house that seems to share the same land. Behind and above the bridge, there are brand-new two-story homes. As I walk from my parked bike to the bridge, cars zoom by me, seemingly oblivious to the charm and appeal of a covered bridge. I snap some pictures and I notice all the overgrowth around the bridge. Trees, scrub-brush, and Virginia Creeper are invading its space and threatening its existence. It’s a sad sight. Disappointed, I take some pictures and get back on my bike, and head home.
Last night, I was thinking of the overgrowth and the state of disrepair of the bridge. Then I thought of these words from Jesus:
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants… The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. (Matthew 13:7, 22)
How easy it is for me to not properly tend to my spiritual life! The thorns grow so quickly. The cares of this world and all the peripheral concerns and temptations attempt to sidetrack me from what’s really important. They grow into a jungle of worries and anxieties, covering up what I was designed to be: a child of God, with Christ dwelling in me, living in the unshakeable Kingdom of God.
I need to be reminded of that. Sometimes, all it takes is a dilapidated covered bridge.