“No man is an island,
entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main.”
Since many countries entered lockdown due to the 2020 global pandemic, there’s been a lot of bridging the gaps. We’ve seen bridges built between strangers, young and old, civilians and health workers, delivery drivers and scientists.
During this time of crisis, new bridges have been built between everyone to ensure a network of security, public health, support and comradery. People have started caring about the health and wellbeing of strangers and stranger’s families. They’ve become appreciative of the underpaid workers who ensure they can buy food, get clean water and have electricity.
This sense of community feels novel and exciting to many people because such casual fellowship hasn’t been the norm. Over the past few decades, people have lived like islands. The rise of individualism meant people hyperfocused in on themselves and on how much money they could make, how much they could get, or how famous or popular they were.
Self-growth is important. But you are nothing without your community.
Self-worth and self-development are crucially important, but self-growth shouldn’t come at the price of community. You can build a kingdom that is lavish, bold and successful, but kingdoms cannot thrive or survive without bridges leading to it.
You cannot cut a kingdom off from the rest of the world and expect it to prosper. Bridges aren’t glamorous or exciting; they’re not outlandish or novel, but they’re a modest necessity. The same goes for yourself. You can build yourself to be this hyper-successful individual with money, fame and notoriety, but such a status will be hard to sustain without building bridges. Nor is such a self meaningful.
The least people can learn from this experience is the significant meaning and power of bridge-building. The world would crumble if people didn’t span the chasms of their lives and extend beyond themselves. Building bridges extends beyond where were are now to where we want to be, and by opening our kingdoms up to others, we enrich not only their lives but our own.
Bridge builders connect the gaps; gaps between communities, people, knowledge, perceptions, and relationships.
While the pandemic has taken so much from us, including lives, financial security and freedom, it has opened our eyes to what we are capable of during times of crisis and restraint. We’ve experienced kinship we never knew before, and we’ve expanded our imaginations to touch other people’s lives positively.
We must not return to our island states. When we regain our freedom, we mustn’t close or tear our bridges down again. Our individualism hasn’t benefitted the world, and our enforced isolation has reminded us of how much we need one another.
Bridge builders seek to make peace, build connections and draw on the knowledge and experience of others to share the wealth of humanity across everyone they meet. In a fractured and frightening world, be part of the change and keep building bridges for a brighter future.