Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

A Repair Job

Once upon a time, two sisters lived side by side. They both owned farms: One grew the sweetest grapes for miles around, the other raised vegetables. A small creek ran between the two farms. For decades, the sisters were as close as could be. Folks in town said if you ever saw one sister, the other was always nearby. They shared life together: meals, tools, stories. Their children played together in the creek. Life was peaceful.

Then, one day, they had a disagreement. It wasn't about much, but they could not resolve it. Slowly, the disagreement became an argument and bitterness set into each sister's heart. There was no more exchanging of meals, tools, or stories. They stopped communicating entirely.

One day, a sister answered a knock at her door. There stood a carpenter.

"Hello, ma'am, I'm looking for work. Do you have anything that needs building?"

"Yes, I do," replied the sister. She pointed to her sister's farm next door. "That farm belongs to my sister. We were best friends, but she has suddenly become unreasonable and I can no longer stand the sight of her. I would like you to build a tall fence between our properties so I don't have to look at her."

The carpenter replied, "Okay, I understand your need. I think I know exactly what to do." And so he set to work. The sister decided to do her weekly shopping while he was working so she would not be in his way.

When she returned later that day, she was shocked to see that the carpenter had not built a fence, but had instead constructed a beautiful bridge across the creek. It was sturdy and wide, with gracefully carved handrails and posts. Before she could object, her sister came out of her house and also saw the bridge. Her sister approached her side of the bridge and said, "I have been so foolish! How could I have forgotten: you are the most loving person in the world. I'm so lucky you are my sister!" and she started across the bridge. The sister rushed across her side of the bridge to meet her in the middle. Both sisters apologized, hugged, kissed, and maybe cried a little.

They turned to the carpenter, who HAD known exactly what to do. They wanted to do something nice for him.

They said, "We have other jobs you can do around the farm."

"Thanks, but I think I'll be moving on," he said. "I've got other fences to build."