Got this as another thought and some forward notes – could not but help relate it to our mindset.
Once, 2 brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side. Began with a small misunderstanding, grew into a major difference and exploded into an exchange of bitter words, followed by weeks of silence.
One morning a carpenter knocked on the elder brother’s door. “I’m looking for a few days work,” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs for me.”
“Yes,” said the older brother. “Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river level. Now there is a creek between us. He may done this to spite me, but I’ll do one better. See that pile of lumbar by the barn? I want you to build me an 8-foot fence so I can’t see his place anymore.”
The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”
The carpenter worked hard all that day. About sunset, when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. Instead, there was a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! It was a fine piece of work, handrails and all.
The farmer’s younger brother was coming across, his hand outstretched. ‘You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done,” he said.
The two brothers met in the middle of the bridge, taking each other’s hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder.
“No wait! Stay a few days. I have many other projects for you,” said the older brother.
‘I’d love to stay on, but I have many more bridges to build,” said the carpenter.
It is ironic how easy we tend to break our bridges at the slightest provocation. Many are internal, some are externally provoked, but it is a wonder, how easy it is to fall prey to them. We all grow up with our parents teaching us to stand together in times of thick and thin, we grow up hearing stories about the bundle of sticks that could not be broken when all were together, we all grow up in environments that promote togetherness and happiness, yet, as we tend to mature and become intelligent and educated, we grow apart.
We know it, we realize it, but yet, no one wants to take the first step forward. Part of this is also due to us being extra educated when we sarcastically put down the other when he / she makes the first step – “I knew it was your fault”. We allow others to cloud our judgement, we allow our inner beings being subject to what will society think, but we never take the first step.
Many a time, it is too late by the time we realize, sometimes we say, why bother, it has been years – let it be as is. What is even more surprising and common, is that we would rather put our own selves and our families down and allow others to be our bigger priority. We would happily leave our pack and find solace among others, who might be happier that we are not together.. But, are we blind to see it?
Every now and then, we too have a choice to build a fence or bridge!
One leads to Isolation..the other leads to Closeness. The Choice, is ours to make