Sunday, January 23, 2011

Those who come after

As I sit here, pondering posts that Mrs. Spit has shared with me and which she has yet to post, I came across this poem completely at random. Or not, depending on your outlook of the world and the cosmos.

You see, an Atheist would say that I came across this poem, as stated above, completely at random, with no connection to the poignant words of my dear wife An Agnostic might tell you that they don't know if I stumbled across it due to the vagaries of chance, or whether someone laid it in my path. A Christian, believing in Divine Providence, might say that indeed, this poem was a treasure waiting to be found at the exact time I needed it, and how I needed it, for it is part of a greater plan.

Times like these, we think outside ourselves, to see where the world will be when we're gone. What is the legacy of what we have done for those who come after us? You think big, powerful, scary questions when you sit with the ashes of your dead son resting on a shelf three feet away. And so, as someone who has built bridges to cross rivers in reality, this poem resonates with me. I find myself blessed for having come to this poem, when and as I did tonight. For, unlike the Atheist, or the Agnostic, I know that my redeemer lives.

The Bridge Builder

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 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 you this bridge at the evening tide?

The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been 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.

By Will Allen Dromgoole

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