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那曾是一座好谷仓

作者:admin 发表于:2017-05-29   点击: 评论: 0

  An old friendship had grown cold. Where once there had been closeness, there was only strain. Now pride kept me from picking up the phone.

  Then one day I dropped in on another old friend who’s had a long career as a minister and counselor1 We were seated in his study — surrounded by maybe a thousand books and fell into deep conversation about everything from small computers to the tormented life of Beethoven.

  The subject finally turned to friendship and how perishable2 it seems to be these days. I mentioned my own experience as an example. “Relationships are mysteries,” my friend said, “Some endure. Others fall apart.”

  Gazing out his window to the wooded Vermont hills, hepointed toward a neighboring farm, “Used to be a large barn over there.” Next to a redframe house were the footings of what had been a sizable structure.

  ”It was solidly built, probably in the 1870s. But like so many of the places around here, it went down because people left for richer lands in the Midwest. No one took care of the barn. Its roof needed patching3; rainwater got under the eaves and dripped down inside the posts and beams.

  ”One day a high wind came along, and the whole barn began to tremble. You could hear this creaking, first, like old sailing-ship timbers, and then a sharp series of cracks and a tremendous roaring sound. Suddenly it was a heap of scrap lumber.

  ”After the storm blew over, I went down and saw these beautiful, old oak timbers, solid as could be. I asked the fellow who owns the place what had happened. He said he figured the rainwater had settled in the pinholes, where wooden dowels4 held the joints together. Once those pins were rotted, there was nothing to link the giant beams together.”

  We both gazed down the hill. Now all that was left of the barn was its cellar hole and its border of lilac shrubs.

  My friend said he had turned the incident over and over in his mind, and finally came to recognize some parallels between building a barn and building a friendship: no matter how strong you are, how notable your attainments, you have enduring significance only in your relationship to others.

  ”To make your life a sound structure that will serve others and fulfill your own potential,” he said, “you have to remember that strength, however massive, can’t endure unless it has the interlocking support of others. Go it alone and you’ll inevitably tumble.”

  ”Relationships have to be cared for,” he added, “like the roof of a barn. Letters unwritten, thanks unsaid, confidences violated, quarrels unsettled–all this acts like rainwater seeping into the pegs ,weakening the link between the beams.”

  My friend shook his head. “It was a good barn. And it would have taken very little to keep it in good repair. Now it will probably never be rebuilt.”

  Later that afternoon I got ready to leave. “You wouldn’t like to borrow my phone to make a call, I don’t suppose?” he asked.

  ”Yes,” I said, “I think I would, very much.”

  

  昔日的友情逐渐淡漠, 曾经的亲密无间。如今只有剑拔弩张了。现在,强烈的自尊心让我无法拿起电话。

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