by Patricia Hope
1 Now the whole earth had one language
and the same words. 4 Then they said, “Come,
let us build ourselves a city and a tower
with its top in the heavens. . .”
Genesis 11:1,4 ESV
I suppose we have Babel to thank for why it is so hard to talk to each other. Maybe, if they had been content to build a regular city, with low structures, roads meandering every which way, people hurrying about their daily lives, we might all be talking the same language today, able to communicate one country with another. But man was never known for being content. If he was, we might all still be naked and happy, living in a garden. But the poor men of Babel decided they would build a tower to Heaven. Who knows why? Someone probably thought of it sitting in the pub having a beer or maybe it came to him in a dream. What if we built up? A building above all other buildings on earth? Today, such thoughts would no doubt earn him awards and accolades, but then, well, God didn’t like it. After all, he gave them the whole earth, they had no need to reach for heaven, and so God made them speak different languages so they couldn’t communicate, but like He would soon come to know, man has never done much of anything without reaching for the stars, even as the fire burns above and below him and the tongues from every corner of the earth tell him why he can’t do it.
Patricia Hope’s award-winning writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Number One, Pigeon Parade Quarterly, 2021 Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Living Lutheran, The Upper Room, Home Life, Mature Years, The Mildred Haun Review, Liquid Imagination, American Diversity Report, and many others. She lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.