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“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”   ― Albert Pike

John shares “The Bridge Builder” poem to remind us that it is important to help others and be grateful for those who have helped us, too.

How do we go forward, together?

I’ve been reflecting on this question since all of our lives changed so dramatically last March.

Today – still in the midst of a global pandemic, with societal challenges, global tensions, political divisions, racial injustices, virtual-work fatigue and innumerable personal challenges – we hear many say that this weighty new reality we live in and ongoing tension we feel is just the “new normal.”

Rather than focus on what we’ve lost, or the difficult new realities we face, what if we actively worked to improve the life we live and make things even better for others?

The poem “The Bridge Builder” shows us the one thing you can do today to make the world a better place.

One of my favorite poems is titled The Bridge Builder and was written by Will Allen Dromgoole.  This poem challenges us to realize we can make a mighty difference regardless of our age. It prompts us to look for opportunities to empower others to achieve greatness in their lives.

And it reminds us that, despite mighty needs in the world today, the time has never been better to knock down walls that separate in order to build up bridges that unite.

This poem gives me pause to appreciate the individuals who elevate my life and reminds me of my own opportunity to do likewise for others.

Here’s the poem:

The Bridge Builder
By: Will Allen Dromgoole

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide

The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me today,
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

My friend, we’ve all been fortunate to have others build bridges for us. They believed in us before we believed in ourselves, guided us when we lost our way, or propelled us forward when we were stuck.

Who was the bridge builder who helped you get where you are today?

Whether parents, guardians, siblings, teachers, rabbis, bosses, friends, children or absolute strangers: In thoughtfully doing so, they permitted us to rise up, take the next right step, and continue forward.

Today, let’s pause and give thanks to those who came, who risked, who built and who invested in us. We certainly could not have “crossed the chasm vast and deep and wide” without them.

And today, in their honor, let’s pay it forward. Remember there are many more following that may struggle crossing. Let’s seek opportunities to build bridges for them, too.

This is your day. Live Inspired.
John O’Leary

8 replies on “What You Can Do Right Now (Build a bridge)”

What a perfect way to look at life. I will try to focus on today with a mindset of who/what will follow. Hopefully I can leave things better they are today. Thank you for the nudge.

This is yet another great thought-provoking post! I LOVE the poem. Keep doing this work, John. We need others who uplift and encourage so very much! Blessings to you and your family.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem. It certainly is thought provoking. It made me think of people who have helped me along the way.

Your image of the bridge is breathtaking — it drew me in and made me want to read the article. Do you pay for your images?

This hit home today and I adore this poem. We can only keep what we have by giving it away. I have always known this but needed a reminder today, thank you kindly

Thank you, I needed this today! I am a ‘Retirement/Financial Advisor’, almost 70 and this has deed. Lot of ‘perspective’ in what I do for others as well as myself.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.