This week I'm turning to poet and cleric John Donne who was a contemporary of William Shakespeare. Meditation #17 whispers inside me. It wakes me up. It pulls my head out of the sand. It's all about this: for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
So let me talk about what I take away from this meditation. When someone dies from a drug over-dose, or from abuse, or from neglect, from persecution, whatever, that wasn't just somebody else's problem, somebody else's loss, not my problem. Mankind is authoring a story. I cannot divorce myself from that story. We are writing one book. I can't tear out the pages I don't like. We are all connected, intimately, irrevocably.
So what am I supposed to do about the pages I don't like?
Take those pages and write a better story. I am to take the wisdom of my years and fight for a better tomorrow. I must translate everything into something better. My cancer? Yes, that must be used to strengthen others. The terrible war. Yes, I must share in the grief and do what I can to help. A chance to stand up for justice? Dear Lord, I better hop up.
No one is a star freewheeling its way through space. We are all part of a vast galaxy. If one star goes out, hey, the galaxy is less. If your mama dies, or your papa dies, you are less, but listen to this: any person's death makes you less because you are part of mankind. You are involved in mankind, friend. Don't point your finger at those people you despise politically, religiously, those foreigners, those bigots, those zealots, whatever. Don't take a hammer to a sore foot. Cutting it off, cripples you. It needs to be healed.
Above all, never say you have enough of your own trouble to be picking up the troubles of your neighbors. You don't have enough trouble Extra trouble will mature you, make you better. The more you take on, the richer you will be. By taking on the troubles of others, you'll learn how to deal with your own mess. You can try to stabilize your life with stuff -- money, fame, success -- but the thing that is going to really stabilize you is to reach out to as many people as you can in the days that you have.
When you write your stories, paint your pictures, sing your songs, do your best work. Why? So that it helps the most. Meditate on those connections.
I will be back next week with more Golden Advice.
Here is the doodle: "Bluestars"
Here is the quote for your pocket.
Liked!view quoteMore than kisses, letters mingle souls. John Donne