Building bridges

I’ve been reflecting a great deal on neighbourhoods, cities, and countries. We have been flooded with media talk about building walls, separating people, naming who is included and who is excluded, all with very negative thinking, speaking and acting. Perhaps, like me, you are concerned about actions that divide rather than unite, separate rather than connect. Perhaps, at times, you, too, are motivated by fear rather than love.

A green painted steel bridge spans a river in Quebec.

I must admit I am not familiar with our local “action teams” although I have walked the pipeline trail and it is apparent that action teams are a very important part of Crown Point with a positive impact in our neighbourhoods. Our action teams are doing things differently and so I wanted to share a story with you, by an unknown author, about taking an alternative approach.

Once upon a time, there were two brothers. When the brothers first started working their adjoining farms, they were the best of friends and shared everything together. Then, one day, there was an argument between the two brothers and they stopped speaking to one another. For many years, not a word was spoken between them.

One day, one of the brothers was home when a carpenter came to his door and said, “I would like to do some work. Do you have any work that I can do for you?” The brother thought for a moment and then replied, “I would like you to build a fence on my property. Build it down near the stream there that separates my farm from my brother’s. I don’t want to see my brother anymore so I would like for you to build a high fence there please. I’m going into town and I’ll be back this evening.”

When he came back that evening, he was shocked to see that the carpenter had not followed his instructions. Instead of building a high fence, he had built a bridge over the stream. The man walked down to take a look at the bridge, and as he did, his brother walked toward him from the other side saying, “After all the terrible things I’ve done to you over the years, I can’t believe that you would build a bridge and welcome me back.” He reached out to his brother and gave him a big hug.

The brother then walked back up to his farmhouse to talk to the carpenter. “Can you stay?” he asked. “I have other work for you to do.” The carpenter answered, “I’m sorry but I can’t stay. I have to go, for I have many more bridges to build.”

Sometimes we have disagreements with the people we love. When that happens, we often build a fence between ourselves and them. We stop talking to them. We don’t want to see them. We don’t want to be around them.

It seems to me that action teams work with love for our communities. Perhaps, instead of building walls, we can try to do things differently and build bridges instead — as our action teams are doing here in Crown Point.

May our wonderfully diverse community continue to grow and prosper.