No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.~~John Donne
In the last few weeks we've watched the news with horror and disbelief as hundreds of people have died in earthquakes, tsunamis and other assorted disasters. Bus and train and plane accidents. House fires. Flash floods. Tornadoes. Blizzards and ice storms. Avalanches. Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones. And the ever-present losses in war.
With every loss of life, we suffer grief--whether or not we know the victim personally. All deaths diminish our souls. We may not consciously know this, but instinctively, our hearts grieve each loss.
After such an enormous disaster as the one unfolding in Japan or the earlier one in Christchurch, our first thought is to call a friend or relative. Though we may not actually admit why we do so, the comfort of our loved one's voice, the contact we make with our friend is necessary if we are to survive the crushing blow of yet another loss.
Some cope by finding other diversions. Some plunge in the disaster by volunteering their time or services. Some mourn publicly. Others curl up on the couch and weep.
Whatever route we take, underneath we are bracing for the next loss. For such is life. Fortunately, death is offset by birth. And love. In our despair, we smile. In our heartache, we embrace. And life goes on.