My Sister Got Her Head Stuck in a Bridge

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Every family has their stories.

You know the ones, the embarrassing anecdotes that remain funny no matter how many times you tell them.

In my family, it starts out with, “My sister got her head stuck in a bridge.”

Right from the start you can tell that this is going to be an unusual and interesting story.

How many people do you know who’ve gotten themselves trapped in a piece of architecture?

It gets funnier when you understand that my sister was an extremely fearful little girl. She would have screaming, immobilizing panic attacks on our way to school in the morning if a slug happened to be in her path. She knew, with certainty, that the offensive creature was going to jump up on her. Another of her major fears was, and still is, heights.

So my family was vacationing in Eastern Washington. We stopped at one of those tourist pull-offs to take in the view of the ravine we were driving over. My mom, the originator of our childhood fears, was too afraid to come out on the bridge with us, so my dad took my brother, sister and I out to the middle to look down and spit (that being what you do when you’re really high up).

I was tall enough to lean over the railing of the bridge and my brother was small enough that his head easily slipped through the bars. My sister was just enough between us she was able to quickly stick her head through the bars, but when she tried to pull her head back out her ears got stuck.

This of course caused panic.

Extreme, terrible panic. She started flailing about and screaming. My mom couldn’t tell what was actually happening, she just knew that my sister was throwing a fit and yet still was looking down into the deep canyon below us. My brother and I were cracking up that my sister was stuck in the bridge and my dad was trying to calm her down enough to get her unstuck.

Can’t you just picture it? An eight year old girl looking down through the bars of a bridge screaming. Her siblings laughing at her and relishing each car that drives by on the bridge and increases the panic. Her dad yelling at her to stop crying and calm down. Her mom yelling at the whole family from the edge of the bridge but completely unwilling to come out. It was wonderful.

Finally my dad convinced my sister to calm down and he helped her extract herself from the bridge. We all walked back to the car and headed home. That moment will never be forgotten by any of us, though, and my brother and I do our best to make sure that anyone we come into contact with will never forget it either.


I could leave it at that, because it’s a funny story. But I was talking to my mom today about what spiritual lesson we could possibly derive from such a random scenario. The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a perfect example it is of our reaction when we’re “stuck” in life.

We panic.

We flail.

We focus on the bridge, the ravine, the cars and the people around us. When really all we need to do is focus on the One who is truly able to help us out. Once we are willing to tune everything else out and focus on God we’ll see that He is perfectly able to direct us on the best way to get “unstuck.” Once my sister followed my dad’s instructions her head quickly slipped back through the railing.

All she needed was to listen to his voice and obey him.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow Me. John 10:27



  1. Levi says:

    I’ve never heard this story! That is AWESOME! Way to continue spreading that memory to others.

    1. Melissa says:

      I. Love. This. Story!! It’s one of my all-time favorites. :)

  2. Jess says:

    I adore this story – and the lesson! =) Which can also be summed up as – Listen to God, He’ll help you pull your head out! ;)

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! Exactly how I’d expect you to put it, Jess. You always were good at getting right to the point. :) Love you!

  3. Angela says:

    Melissa…this is so well told! You know, my sister (Rachel) once got her head caught in between some bars at our house. Why on earth do they make those bars big enough for kids to put their heads through and get stuck?! In our family, it is an often told tale as well.

    My offer still stands…whenever you’re up for it, I’d love for you to guest post on my blog. Email me sometime.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Angela! How was BlogHer?!

      I can’t believe I never heard that story about Rachel over all these years. :) That’s so funny.

      I had forgotten about the guest blogger thing. I’ll definitely email you. :) It would be fun to have you post something here too.

  4. Melissa says:

    I love this! Justine and I always talk about how I’m really good at flailing when I don’t get my way with God! I’m glad that you get it!

    1. Melissa says:

      You crack me up. And we’re totally alike in this. :) Love you!!

  5. angelina says:

    Valicia Put my head in a stairwell railing. Thats all I have to say. OH and ripper is now a 3 legged dog. I will email you pictures. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      I was unaware the number of people I know who have been stuck in buildings. Haha! This is so enlightening. :) And poor Ripper. He looked so sad when I was up there. I’m glad it got fixed.

  6. Janelle says:

    Oh yay, now it’s on the internet. Just when I thought I had lived that down.

    Just kidding, I love it. :) How come all the embarrassing stories in our family are about me?

    1. Melissa says:

      Not true! Darren dropped his diaper in the toilet. Mom gave herself a concussion. Grandpa Bob lit his closet & his truck (on separate occasions) on fire with candles. Josh has a lovely pre-Thanksgiving story. And I already wrote about when I forced you to go to Piggly-Wiggly. :)

      1. Janelle says:

        Oh all right fine. But we do hear about this one the most.

        What life lesson can we get from Darren dropping his diaper in the toilet?

        1. Melissa says:

          I’ll have to meditate on that one for a few hours… :)

    2. Mom says:

      And how can we forget my Bob “fixing” the bathroom faucet – Corbin says the gusher was one of the coolest things he’s ever seen!

      And watching the water run out of the downstairs light fixture into the kitchen sink was just frosting on the cake.

      1. Melissa says:

        That really was a wonderful experience! I’ll never forget sitting downstairs with Janelle as we listened to the water roll through the ceiling and then suddenly come out that light fixture. And there’s no way anyone could have planned for it to come out where it did. :)

    3. Duane Scott says:

      Judging by your comment, you’re the girl with the head in the bridge. :) Thanks to both of you for this entertaining story with a beautiful ending!

      Loved it.

      1. Melissa says:

        Haha! She outed herself! :)

  7. jasonS says:

    Funny story with a fantastic lesson. Way to go, Melissa. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      I owe it all to my sister, without whom this story would not have been possible. :)

      1. Janelle says:

        I’m only here to help. :)

  8. Joy says:

    Be Still and Listen…yes, we need to do that more. Loved the story! Stopping by from iFellowship!

    1. Melissa says:

      If I was ever to get a tattoo it would be something related to “Be still & know” because it’s something I need daily reminder of. :) Glad you clicked over and thanks for the comment.

  9. Amy says:

    Love this! thx for posting!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Amy! Hope you have a great weekend. :)

  10. What a great story and a wonderful tie-in with the “being there” of our Heavenly Father. I am enjoying reading your blog!

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