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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Falling Down
Date Posted: November 25, 2006

"London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down . . ." - we all know this children's song.

Could that fall have been prevented? Perhaps. Could the bridge be put back up? No. It had to be rebuilt. This probably elicited many moans and cries from the people as the King or Queen of the day (yes, it was rebuild several times) taxed the people to pay for it. The original London Bridge was not called by that name, as the city was under Roman rule and called Londinium. The first bridge was wooden and constructed in 46 A.D. It was repaired and replaced through the years, but after it was burned by King Ethelred in 1013 to divide invading Danish forces and then rebuilt and destroyed in a storm in 1091 and fire again in 1136, someone decided a stone bridge might be worth looking into. (Duh.)

The first stone bridge was completed in 1209 and was the site of shops, houses and even a chapel. The bridge hosted several battles and displayed heads of executed heroes from William Wallace to Thomas Cromwell. Sections of the bridge collapsed at various times (prompting the song, no doubt) and by the end of the 18th century the 600-year-old bridge was deemed a hazard. A new one was built in 1831 but it began to sink at one end about 70 years later and was replaced by a new bridge.

The old bridge was dismantled and in 1968 sold to an American entrepreneur and reconstructed in Lake Havasu, AZ. Leftover pieces of the granite were cut down and sold as souvenirs. My great-aunt bought one and it now takes up space in my house. Another side note: the new London Bridge, opened in 1973, had a close call when a British war ship collided with it in 1984. It did not fall down.

Why the history lesson? Perhaps to show that the London Bridge really did earn the right to be sung about even hundreds of years later "across the pond" because it fell over and over just as we do. When children fall down they often moan and cry, but eventually get back up again. I have one of each - a crier and a "duster-offer". My older son moans and carries on to rival the greatest stage actor of all time. (We're trying to find him an agent.) My younger son brushes off whatever part hit the ground and takes off at full speed as if nothing happened. He doesn't want or need my comfort.

When I fall down into sin I need to display the qualities of both of my sons. I need to cry out my repentance and request forgiveness from God. Then I need to get right back up and keep running the race. If I lie around and wallow in my misery I won't get over it and I won't get on with it. But if I get up and run on too quickly I miss the chance to have a loving Father forgive my wrongs and help me to my feet to try again.

David fell into almost every sin trap imaginable, yet he always cried out to the Lord and allowed himself to be hauled up to his feet again. In David's own words: "though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand." - Psalm 37:24

Each time I fall I can remember how the bridge was rebuilt, time and again, and allow the Lord to reconstruct my life again and again.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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