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 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 into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work," he said. "Could I help you?" "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighboor. In fact, it's my younger brother. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place anymore."
The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."
The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, and nailing. 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. It was a bridge - a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! And the neighbour, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done." The two brothers met in the middle, taking each other's hand.
They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days." said the older brother. "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."
~ Author Unknown
Everyday we have the choice of building fences or bridges. One leads to isolation and the other to openness.
~ Author Unknown