When I graduated from Dixie State College a very influential guy named Thomas S. Monson spoke at the commencement ceremony. He based his remarks on the poem by Will Allen Dromgoole entitled “The Bridge Builder.” This poem, and the talk that it inspired, are powerful. It sheds a beautiful light on service-based leadership and illustrates the importance building bridges instead of burning them. Here it is for your reading pleasure:
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-
That sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when he reached the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting strength in building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
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 the bridge for him.”
-WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE