No man is an island, entire of itself.
Each man is part of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod of earth fall off into the sea,
Europe is the less, as much as if
A promontory were, as much as if
A Manor of thy friends or thine own were.
Every man’s death diminishes me
Because I am involved in mankind;
Therefore, never send to know
For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
from Meditation XVII by John Donne (1571-1631)
John Donne reminds us about this divine calling in his Meditation XVII. A clump of dirt falling into the ocean makes the nation that much smaller. A grain of obsidian sand pulled from the beach of Hawaii--or that pristine white sand granule from Florida washing into the Gulf--causes all of America to shrink. Donne says that even a bit of earth that falls into the rolling blue lessens the country from which it falls.
That grain of sand, that person we lose thanks to whatever tide goes rolling out, is part of my continent. I am diminished. I am affected because "I am involved in mankind." Therefore I must look to those people in my life whom I know I have the opportunity to impact. Am I doing enough to keep erosion from occurring? Am I sharing light or darkness? Am I listening and reacting to the tolling of the bells that ring? I hope so.
Several iron bells rang out that touched me personally this week. I am sure that any number of bells tolled throughout the nation and world, and we were all affected by the resounding of those iron bells in our lives. Our diminished selves may be tempted to retreat; I need to remember that it is at these times, especially, that I need to look to friends and family whose love can help bring light instead of darkness. Their warm greetings help soothe the sadness that sudden loss brings.
Hawaii's greeting of "Aloha" which means hello and goodbye is perhaps that perfect phrase at times like this, when we must say goodbye to those whose bell has rung while at the same time welcoming our friends and family into holiday homes. Blessings and love to all those of us who have heard the bells ring this week; also, welcome and good cheer to those who will be ringing doorbells for Christmas. So, "Aloha" dear hearts.
RIP MM and BM 12/16/2013