We’re In This Together

John Donne’s famous poem “No Man Is An Island” is worth a second look this week.

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each 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 thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee. 

Each death does indeed diminish each of us, and that was made crystal clear as we watched the horror unfold before us this week. The bell tolled many times for me and for each of us yesterday, and I thought of the poignant ending to Donne’s powerful poem. Do I really believe that mankind is that connected? I should. God created us to connect, but we separate, choose sides, hide, and mind our own business. It’s what’s wrong with the world. Oneness is God’s plan. Individuality is what Satan prefers.

Each day 21,000 children die in this world. “The silent killers are poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. Despite the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage.”(Global Issues)

The numbers numb, and the statistics cause us to run for cover if we forget to see ourselves as “involved in mankind.” I suppose the fact that we could do something to prevent the 21,000 daily deaths makes us uncomfortable. Out of sight, out of mind keeps the horrible statistics from haunting me. Haunting is the word I would use for this terrible week. The images have literally haunted and left me reeling.

John Donne didn’t write his poem to make us cower and cover our faces. He wrote it to remind us that we are all in this together. We are stronger when we connect because we are closer to one another and to God when we understand the point of this poem. Christ called us to love God and one another. When we grasp that truth and remember that we are not islands, we will walk in God’s kingdom with the light and life that Christ brings into this world.

John 1:1-5 has helped me so very much today:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

The darkness does not comprehend the Light, but it does flee from it. Let your light shine in a way that will disperse the darkness, and live the life Christ makes possible for all of us. I will attend two funerals this week, and my heart hurts from the losses close to home as well as those far to the north and around the world. The bell tolls for me, and its tolling has caused my heart to tremble this week and remember that I am not alone. That is a comforting thought if I remember Who is the author and perfecter of my faith. I’ll leave you with those words of comfort from Hebrews 12:2

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

This Little Piggy:)

When I put Lillyann to bed last night, I was whipped and thankful to lay down beside her and relax for a moment. She wanted a story, but I told her that Gigi was just too tired to read a book. She said, “Read a story without a book.” Of course, I couldn’t resist that sweet little request. I love children and envy the way they express themselves:)

I wasn’t thinking of Odysseus when I started to spin a tale about two little piggies, but I thought of him as I drove home. He searched the world for decades only to find that all he sought was waiting for him at home. As the story began, Lillyann relaxed because she loves piggies, and she loves being the main character. Here’s the story of those two little piggies who found happiness in each other as they shared the journey and made their way home.

Two little piggies named Gigi and Lilly set off to see the world. They crawled out of the mud, climbed over the fence, and decided to see what was beyond the farm. They snacked on vegetables from the garden, tiptoed past the farmhouse so as not to wake the farmer and his wife, and made their way to the road.

They wondered about the strange surface on the road but decided to take a chance and see where it led. They walked and talked along the way and were so excited to be going on an adventure. They started to get a little bit scared; but they were together, so they just talked and walked a little faster. Houses got closer together, and the vegetable gardens disappeared. “What will we eat?” worried Gigi, but Lillyann told her not to worry. They would find something. They sang to take their mind off their tummies.

One night, they noticed lights ahead. “I wonder what that means!” said Lilly.  Gigi wondered the same thing and was worried about those lights, but she didn’t say anything to Lilly. They were very tired and hungry when they walked into the city, but there was food everywhere! People petted them and made sweet sounds as they walked by. One lady tried to take Gigi, but Lilly stepped on her toe and saved her.

They were very careful when it started to get dark and stayed close together. They made their way through the crowds and found all sorts of sweet treats. Candy corn and chocolate were their favorites, and they ate like little piggies always do:) When they snuggled up to go to sleep that night, they started to cry because their tummies hurt, and they missed mommy, daddy, and Mylah. 

In the morning, they decided the city was not for them. They found the road that brought them there and started back home. The trip home was fun because they talked about their adventures as they walked, and they knew where they were going this time. They were not scared any more, and squealed together when the vegetable gardens started to pop up. Carrots and cabbages were just what they wanted! Their tummies settled down, and they started to skip. Before too long, they recognized their farm and began to run.

Mylah, the tiny baby pig, was the first to see them, and see started to squeal and clap her little feet together. Mommy and daddy came to see what was going on, and they jumped up and down and hugged Gigi and Lilly!  It was time for all piggies to be in bed, so they jumped over the fence and got into a big piggy pile in the soft, warm mud. Lilly was happy to be home. She listened to the piggy snores, smiled, and drifted off to sleep.

The End:)