Two wounded soldiers staggered into a battlefront aid station. They had trudged miles through a trail of dead comrades after a ferocious battle. One soldier bore the other on his back. The one who walked had been blinded. The man being carried, the one who could see, had wounded feet and could not walk.
This story haunts me. I want to know more about these men. Were they friends or strangers? Were they the same or different races? Was one straight and one gay? None of that mattered. What mattered was they recognized their common need. Alone, each would have died. Together both survived.
This struck me as a perfect parable for what happens in a successful mediation. Persons with different interests come together. They may be strangers, competitors, or even family members. They bring their hopes — and their wounds. They meet at the point of need.
In a successful mediation people may arrive as opponents but leave as collaborators. Like the soldiers, they put aside their differences to find a way for each to get what they truly need.
Source: Mary Cosby, age 90 told me this story. She says this really happened in WW II. Her brother was at the aid station.