Sunday, May 25, 2008

No man is an Island

The Bible says that our days are numbered. In the past few weeks, enormous numbers of people have died. Some from floods, some from tornadoes, some from earthquakes, some from war. The numbers are too large to even comprehend realistically. Without seeing the devastation firsthand we can't wrap our minds around the terrible chaos and confusion.

It's easy to go about our business every day as though we aren't affected by the losses, but somewhere, deep down inside we are. There is a compassionate heart in most of us. And that compassion leads us to grieve when terrible disasters happen. For the last few weeks, I've been feeling blue and I just couldn't figure out why. I'm no more tired than usual. The sun shines most days. I'm taking my vitamin D. So why has it been so hard to get back to my old light-hearted self?

I think it's because on some deep cellular level I grieve. On some level the loss of so many souls has initiated the grieving process. There are recognizable steps in the grieving process and I seem to be working my way through the process.

To some it will no doubt seem unreasonable to grieve for people I don't know. But I know that without compassion, we are no better than a box of rocks. Even animals know how to grieve. In this twenty-first century mourning is no longer fashionable. This weekend, a day of national mourning, a Memorial Day...will be spent in traveling, picnicking, shopping... but not in mourning or remembrance.

Perhaps--perhaps we should take a little while this Memorial Day to contemplate our losses.

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.~~John Donne



  1. yep, the bell does indeed told for thee and yet we have to move on regardless. Life is never going to be fair but it must be endured in the crapacious times

  2. On Anzac Day, we in Australia say "Lest We Forget" - a reminder to us all not to forget all those who have died that we may live in freedom. So I say for all your fallen - Lest We Forget. Lest we forget that whoever falls in defence of freedom anywhere in the world dies for everyone who lives free and in peace.

  3. Thank you for your wisdom. Just about everyone I've encountered recently, myself included, has been slightly off. You might very well have the explanation for that. (Saying a prayer to bring peace to us all.)

  4. I came across this site:

    Be prepared the pictures of the Chinese earthquate devistation is heartbreaking. Media "protects" us from the harsher realities of this kind of thing. Sometimes, we need to open our eyes and SEE and FEEL and even cry.

  5. This probably explains why I've been so blue lately. As a news junkie, I have this on all the time and I can't seem to watch these heartbreaking pictures without crying. Yes, these people are in faraway lands but their grief touches us in innumerable ways. So while I remember our fallen warriors, I will be thinking of them, too.

  6. I love the John Donne quote. And you're right its upsetting and unnerving. We seem to be having disaster after disaster that is taking its toll on the earth and those that live therein.
    Good for you for reminding us to remember, Ms. Anny.

  7. Anny,

    I have spent a weekend running this way and that. Yet my Mother, Aunt, & I spent Friday morning going to the garden center, buying plants, & taking them to graves. I have been blessed to have family that knows what Memorial Day is supposed to be about. Not just family time, but remembering those who aren't with us.

    I believe that Our planet, and God himself mourns when there is an abundace of tragedy. No matter who you believe in, Compassion and Grief are saddly lacking in our corner of the world today.
    Anny, Thank you for being a voice crying out in the wilderness. You continue to give me hope!

  8. In our family, we have a philosophy. We, and every member of our family, and every member of every family over all the world, are pieces of a huge quilt. We are all stitched together in one form or another. When there is a loss, that piece of the quilt is ripped from the quilt as a whole. It is impossible to remain untouched when part of you has been ripped away, even if that piece of the quilt is thousands of miles or thousands of stitches away.
    Thank you, Anny for reminding me of the world quilt.

  9. Thank you Anny. A thought provoking post as usual.
    I've seen such gut-twisting images the past few weeks, it seems like overload. You can't help but mourn... But I also think our media desensitizes us too. It's all awful all the time. After a while you a part of you just gets turned off out of self-preservation. But part of you still mourns cause you can't help it. It's human and necessary.

  10. Hugs, Anny.

    It is hard to comprehend so much devastation, death, and despair. My day job is for a charity, and so I work with similar things daily. It's not easy. We just do what we can to help ease the suffering and bring people out of the despair.