The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
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 if a manor of thy friend’s
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 (24 January 1572 – 31 March 1631 / London, England)
My wife and I just took our 11 year old grand daughter to Oahu for her birth day. We had a great time as did she. During the course of our stay we enjoyed an observation of our shuttle driver. He was amazed that people can get lost on an island. All you have to do is follow the coast line and you will end up in the same place eventually.
That brought to mind the quote that “No Man is an Island”, which is from a poem written by John Donne in the 1600’s. It also brings to mind two very different authors of the 20th century Thomas Merton “No man is an Island” and Earnest Hemingway “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
They are two very different books of two different periods. One a work of historical fiction and the other a work regarding spiritual growth and reflection. Each is considered a special work worth reading. Yes I read all three but too long ago to remember and too heavy to read again.
Suffice it to say that the poem by Donne is a good stepping off point for reflection on either of these books the authors and their life paths or our own.
One author found his path and succeeded to live a simple life as a Trappist monk. The other despite notoriety lead a life full of despair alcohol and depression.
“You cannot get lost if you keep going” My Shuttle Driver