Surprised by Grace

To provoke thoughtful reflection, I’ve taken an ancient legend and set it to rhymed verse:

There’s a story that’s been told about two brothers who had grown old. Lots of envy, lots of strife; things were tense through most of life. Said the one, “This has to end!” A message clear he vowed to send. Hired a man to build a wall: “Build it strong, and build it tall!”  Took a week and went away, then returned and was dismayed to see the man that he had paid had really not his will obeyed. For where the wall was supposed to be, the man had built a bridge, you see,to span the stream that lay between the two whose love had grown so lean.

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The Squirrel and the Groundhog

Neighborhood Animals_5Growing up in a family where I watched my father build relational bridges with different people, I sometimes wish I was more like the squirrel or groundhog that shares the neighborhood where my son, Ben, lives in New Hampshire.  Although the properties have fences around them, the squirrels walk along the tops of the fences jumping onto the garages and trees finding connections and make their way into the back yards of all the residents, and no one seems to be offended.  The groundhog makes his way through the broken places or holes dug under the fences.  Yesterday, the groundhog just stopped in his tracks, took one look at me as if to say, “What’s your problem, buddy, I do this all the time.  Figure it out.”

 How do you find “common ground” with people around you when walls seem to keep people from knowing one another?

 What are the barriers you and others build that prevents community and really knowing one another?

 What are the lessons we might learn from squirrels and groundhogs?

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