Thursday, September 01, 2011

the bridge

My sister, Eileen, sent me this story earlier in the week. This is so applicable to my family, it's almost as if it's written about my family. I have no idea who wrote it, but I loved it and am sharing it here with the following wish:

May there be more bridges than rifts in your life and those of your loved ones.


Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it EXPLODED in to an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on the older brother's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox.

"I'm looking for a few days' work," the carpenter said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help you with?"

"Yes!" said the brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor. In fact, that's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us, but he recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll do him one better! See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want for you to build me an 8-foot fence so I won't need to see his place or face anymore!"

The carpenter nodded and 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 brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he left for the day. The carpenter worked hard during the time that the brother was away measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The brother's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.

There was no fence at all.

It was a bridge ... a bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other. A fine piece of work, handrails and all. And the neighbor, the younger brother, was coming toward them his hand outstretched...


"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on to his shoulder.

"No, wait! Stay a few days! I've got a lot of other projects for you!" said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."


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