Crossing a bridge, whether literally or metaphorically, will bring you to the other side. What lies there at the foot of the bridge just crossed is always going to be a bit of a mystery. If the bridge is never crossed, then of course the mystery will never be revealed. What does it take to cross that bridge? Mainly, and most significantly, it takes courage to cross the bridge.

People are plagued by a million forms of fears, great and small. Some people have the fear of bridges, be they literal or metaphorical bridges. In this life we can all find moments sublime where a leap of faith was taken and a bridge was crossed. This leap may be voluntary or under some real or imagined duress. Arriving at the other side always brings some new strength and confidence in our ability to live, and perhaps some enlightenment in what sometimes seems a very dark and bleak world. The faith to act, respond or otherwise move forward grows with the wisdom gleaned in the courage we exemplify in the great and small challenges of life.

Today’s book is a book about life and the challenges that help us grow in it. Crossing Bridges by Patrick Wholey was written in 2009 after a very interesting trip the author took to Venice, Italy. Patrick’s father Timothy Wholey, the original On the Bookshelf author, lay near death in a Venice hospital with a very severe case of pneumonia he had contracted just before or during his own travel time to Italy. Being unable to return home without assistance, Patrick went to assist him in his homecoming. This was a case of strong duress, unquestionably. The story that ensued shed great light on many lives.

Timothy Wholey began writing this column, On the Bookshelf, about fifteen years ago. He wrote religiously for eight years until his death in 2012. The then editor asked if someone in the family would carry on as a legacy the writing of this column. It has been written religiously ever since, by yours truly. Looking back at the connections with On the Bookshelf, and all of the books we have tipped our hats to, it is a great honor and privilege to write still at this moment.

In life we all have angels who help us along the path. Sometimes we do not recognize this fact, yet it is still so. A Venetian named Carlo was the angel for Tim Wholey back just before today’s book was penned. The landlord of the apartment Tim had rented in Italy for a small vacation, Carlo let him into the apartment and for several days thereafter did not see him emerge at all. Sensing something may be amiss, he entered the rental unit and found Tim in a severe situation with what would be found to be 49% lung blockage from pneumonia. He called the medics and they took Tim to hospital. He was unconscious at the time.

When Tim awoke, his head was encased in a glass bubble, like Jacque Cousteau, and he wondered where he was! There where people in white coats walking around, though oddly they were all smoking cigarettes. Europe has a different policy on a few things than we here in America. After sometime he was able to ascertain his location, saw Carlo and got up to speed on the dire situation he had been in. Carlo had contacted Tim’s family back home here in Rhode Island.

At that time Patrick Wholey, Tim’s youngest son of three, elected to go and retrieve his father. The journey would be too much for Tim alone, in his current condition. Patrick arrived before Tim was able to be released from the hospital, and had some time to do some Crossing Bridges in one of the most famous bridge places in the world. His story is all contained in his book, and speaks for itself quite well. He learned a lot about his Dad, himself, his own nuclear family and life on this trip. There is a message here for all of us. Grab a copy and find out how it speaks to you. 

I will add here that I am truly blessed with the family and relations I have now, have had in the past, and may have in the future. My brother and his trip make this moment for this writer possible, and the connections between the Wholey boys, and our immediate and extended family could not possibly be better…or maybe they will be, who knows! We have love, and that is all we need.

Enjoy and read on!

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