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. 

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