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Article # 17
Build Bridges and not Fences

Author: Bro.Don Falconer    Posted on: Monday, June 17, 2002
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[ Freemasonry has emphasized even at the initial stages, that we have to discharge our duties to our neighbour, as enjoined in the V.S.L. We have been exhorted to act with the neighbour on the square, rendering him every kind office which justice or mercy may require, by relieving his necessities and soothing his afflictions and by doing to him as, in similar cases, you would wish, he should do to you and that a Freemason's charity should have no bounds, save those of prudence. Later on a retrospect of the earlier degrees, it had been stressed that, Freemasonry has inculcated the useful lessons of natural equality and mutual dependence, by instructing us in the active principles of universal beneficience and charity and to seek the solace of our own distress by extending relief and consolation to the fellow creatures in the hour of their affliction and that our hearts should be dedicated to God's Glory and the welfare of our fellow mortals. Apart from being helpful to others, we have been enjoined to drop a tear of sympathy over the failings of a brother and in cases of our entertaining feelings of animosity , it is expected, that we have to invite the brother to withdraw in order to amicably settle the differences and after such reconciliation, both have to work with that love and harmony, which should at all times characterize Freemasons. All the above prescriptions apply with equal force not only between Freemasons, but also between any human beings. The article posted hereunder brings out clearly the quintessence of all Masonic teachings. If only human beings, including Freemasons and even Grand Lodges build bridges and not fences , the world will certainly be a better place to live in.-- Moderator]

Build Bridges and not Fences

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 labour and goods as needed without a hitch.
Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small
misunderstanding about the sharing of labour that grew into a major
difference and finally exploded in an exchange of bitter words. This was
followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John' 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"
he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there that I could
do? 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 neighbour, in fact, it's my younger brother.
Last week there was a meadow between us and he 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 go him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn?
I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence. Then I won't need to see
his place or his face 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 older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the
materials ready and then he was off for the day. 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! A fine piece of
work, handrails and all - and the neighbour, his younger brother, was coming
across, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge
despite 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 his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've 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."


God won't ask what kind of car you drove, but He'll ask how many people you
drove who didn't have transportation. God won't ask the square footage of
your house, but He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home. God
won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, but, He'll ask how many
you helped to clothe. God won't ask about your social status, but will ask
what kind of class you displayed. God won't ask how many material possessions
you had, but He'll ask if they dictated your life. God won't ask what your
highest salary was, but He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain
it. God won't ask how much overtime you worked, but He'll ask if your
overtime work was for yourself or for your family. God won't ask how many
promotions you received, but He'll ask how you promoted others. God won't ask
what your job title was, but He'll ask if you performed your job to the best
of your ability. God won't ask what you did to help yourself, but He'll ask
what you did to help others. God won't ask how many friends you had, but
He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend. God won't ask what you
did to protect your rights, but He'll ask what you did to protect the rights
of others. God won't ask in what neighbourhood you lived, but He'll ask how
you treated your neighbours. God won't ask about the colour of your skin, but
He'll ask about, the content of your character. God won't ask how many times
your deeds matched your words, but He'll ask how many times they didn't. God
won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation, but He'll lovingly take
you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell. God won't ask
how many people you forwarded this to, but He'll ask if you were ashamed to
pass it on to your brothers.

[ The author Bro. Don Falconer is a great Masonic Scholar and a prolific writer, held in great respect and veneration throughout the world and he is rendering commendable service for spreading Masonic Education and Enlightenment. He is the Moderator of premier Masonic web sites. We are very thankful to him for posting this story with great morals. Perhaps, the greatest homage we can pay to him is to commence immediately dismantling the numerous fences we have created and bridge the gaps and build durable and lasting bridges of universal brotherhood. -- Moderator]

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