No Man Is An Island

‘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 any manner 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.’

Yesterday I mused on Shakespeare’s play about Scottish aggression; last night there was the England-Scotland football at Wembley. This morning’s paper says: ‘The much anticipated Battle of Britain proved to be a damp squib…’

While Shakespeare was nearing the end of his career, other poets, including the clergyman John Donne, were gaining recognition. The famous ‘No man is an island… for whom the bell tolls’ quote is taken from a 1642 sermon preached when he was the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Musing on Donne’s words…

Dependent… Much as I like my own company and get fed up and frustrated by other people, I am dependent on many folk – family, friends and in the wider community. We need each other for our mutual wellbeing and survival.

Diminished… Everyone can make a valuable contribution. If someone isn’t there, if they opt out or if we reject their contribution or company we’re all diminished by their absence.

Death… When we hear the church bell tolling for someone who has died, it’s tolling for me because the death of anyone takes a part of my own life away.

I live and share my life; I give and receive; I contribute and appreciate the contribution of others. (Like playing football!)

Musing on St Paul’s words: ‘Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…’

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