“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.” John Donne
The first line of John Donne’s compelling poem, “No Man is An Island,” lures me in with the proposition that I’m not actually alone or and can’t be fully independent, but rather am a piece of something a lot bigger. The next lines propose that not only am I a part of it, but my part matters, and so does everyone else’s: Without each part, the whole isn’t actually whole.
I think Donne found a new way to express the truth in the Apostle Paul’s biblical metaphors of the Church as a body composed of different parts, some prominent and lovely, some small and homely, and all important. Each one matters. If I believe I have a purpose, and I do, then I need to find it and pursue it. My manifesting the role I am meant to fulfill is part of enhancing the lives of the others mine touches–we are all part of each others’ contexts, and we, and those contexts, matter.
I plan to explore contexts in this blog. Come along–you’re already part of them!
Linda Riggs Mayfield