A boy once lived through a river crossing. The waters receded and the ground became dry and the people crossed. But a few people stayed in the middle, stranded on high places in the river. They lived on islands in the middle of a grand, wide river.
As the boy grew up, he noticed the people in the middle. When he became a man, he longed to cross the stream again to bring more people across. He dreamed of just the right bridges and how to reach those on the other side and those on the islands.
He lived at the edge of the river and build a few walls for his home and then began planning to reach those on the islands and those on the other side. He watched their habits. He waved at people on the islands and on the other side, and he one day noticed that if he stepped into the stream a little and asked for help, he could reach the islands nearby. He would visit the people and talk to them. Sometimes people received him, sometimes they didn’t.
The budding bridge-builder would bring food and the fruit of the land to those on the islands. He gave them things to read to pass their time with joy. A few crossed over and left their islands, and joy filled his heart. All of his friends and family received the newly landed people and he was happy.
Gradually, he invited others to help him build bridges to those further out on the islands. He would look for the best place to land the bridge and visited with gifts of peace. On occasion he found islands where people had built walls all around the islands like fortresses and who refused to cross over or even to greet him. He pressed on and went to the islands that were accessible.
Sometimes he would build a bridge to an islander and the person attacked him. When this happened, he put up a gate on the island bridge to protect himself and the other incorporated citizens. Then, he moved on to build more bridges.
On rare occasion, he found islanders who would receive him freely at first, but later would burn all the bridges to their island. While he never understood why people would stay on the islands, he refused to muddle in the river weeping forever over the bridges that could have been and would venture out to new islands.
He kept finding new islands. Occasionally, he would even call out to those on the other side and would send a boat to retrieve those who wanted to cross. Yes, there is danger in bringing people safely to land. Yes, it is a life prone to long hours alone reaching islands and reaching out to the other side, but every time someone rejoined the people of the land and the rejoicing went up, the labor was worth it.
So will you build bridges or burn them? Build brick walls with graffiti smiley faces or put in doors and windows, ready to open the gates when the time is right.