Skillfully combined

The stunning Golden Gate Bridge, photographed through the fog from Marin Headlands, 2003

The Golden Gate Bridge, seen through the fog from Marin Headlands, July 2003

“Small things grow mighty, if they are skillfully combined.  Blades of grass will make a rope to bind a raging elephant.”Hitopadesha

These words of wisdom echo a theme found repeatedly in various works, from Aesop’s fables to the Bible. Perhaps there is no greater physical symbol of the strength of unity than the breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge.  It is considered one of the great marvels of modern engineering, thought by many to be impossible until it was successfully built.  Here is a brief quote about  its construction: “Each of the main cables contains 27,572 galvanized wires which are bundled into 61 strands that contain 454 wires each. The combined weight of the main cables, vertical suspender cables and accessories is 24,500 tons.” (Find this quote, and much more, at this site.)  Skillfully combined, these wires have produced an amazing, practical and beautiful adornment to a fabulous landscape, one of the most photographed places in the world.

After the immediate shock of my husband’s devastating diagnosis, I began to research and read as much as I could about how to reverse the grim prognosis.  One theme began to emerge from all sources: survival for any length of time will depend on a multidisciplinary approach.  In practical terms, this means we need a team of doctors, each with a different area of expertise, all working together to most effectively fight the spread of disease throughout the body.  In the background, of course, we marshal our own team of loving supporters and faithful prayer partners who help us to endure and hopefully prevail for as long as possible.  We are already reaping the benefits from the strength of unified purpose.

The same is true for almost any human endeavor.  We all need each other.  We have the blessing and responsibility to work, reason and live together in peace, despite our differences.  While we will never agree on everything, to the extent that we are able to achieve unity of purpose, we will be strong enough to endure almost any hardship.


  1. Excellent post! Life affirming and a profound tribute to community.

    • Thanks so much! I have been crazy busy lately but really do want to get back to your blog. I appreciate your being here and your comment – hope you have a wonderful day!

  2. Sheila

    Good morning Julia, as we approach this new day and await first light. Since I had to get up at 5:00 with my 15 year old Boykin Spaniel,Salty, I decided afghan,coffee and iPad would be perfect. As I read your words a second time, I thought back to the first time I visited your blog through The Upper Room. I so believe God places us in people’s lives for a reason when there is need. I know your needs, along with Jeff’s needs,are great. God does hear our prayers. Your words are special to me everyday! My prayers travel the distance from Garden City,Sheila

    • Sheila, thanks so much for being so faithful in prayers for us. I too believe that God provides for us, especially in the tough times, by sending us people who will walk alongside us and join us in prayer. I am so happy you are here and reading my blog daily. It is a tremendous encouragement for which I’m very grateful!

  3. What a great photo! And then i read your post. So informative and encouraging to play the small part, whatever the endeavor God has in mind for us. Monte

    • Thanks, Monte. A good friend used to remind me that God is able to multiply our individual efforts beyond what we can imagine. She would talk about the woman who packed her son a lunch of loaves and fishes, never dreaming that it would end up feeding 5000! So I try to be on the lookout for whatever small things I can do and have faith that God will show me the way.

  4. Karen Hamilton

    Julia, how true your blog is today. God gives us strength in numbers. Great seeing you Sunday. I always like to hear Jeff at the pulpit. May God be with you and your family. Thank you for your words.

    • Thanks Karen, it was really great to be there Sunday. I had no idea Jeff would be doing the communion talk (he never tells me these things). I am proud of how well he is holding up under all the stress, and I know his faith is keeping him going. I appreciate your being here and your kind words!

  5. Julia, Awesome picture and very inspiring words for me today. Love your blog!

    • Thanks Faith, I am so happy you like it! I appreciate your visiting with us here.

  6. Stunning photograph! And terrific sentiment! So true.

    • Thanks Barb! It’s even more amazing in person.

  7. Bobby Harris

    And so we keep on praying.

    • YES, and thank you so much!


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