We Are not Alone — the Bell Tolls for Each of Us

lone craggy rock with trees atop_blue ocean_alone_blue skyAs I lay in bed last night, trying to go to sleep, a line from John Donne’s famous poem kept racing across my mind: “No man is an island.” His words of so long ago are surely as true today as when he wrote them.

I kept thinking about the tragedy last week in Newtown, CT, especially since just a few of days ago marked the first day of funerals for those who were gunned down. I couldn’t get those families out of my mind … nor the words of the poem.

We are all connected. We are not alone. And when something so tragic happens to one of us, our hearts are all affected.

We grieve for the unspeakable loss so many are facing, both now and in the days ahead. We realize that these losses could just as readily have been our own.

We want to reach out and show our love, compassion, sympathy, and concern. It’s important for those who are directly affected to realize that we do care – and that they are not alone.

Truly, no man is an island. In the family of man, we are all connected. And when someone dies, the symbolic bell rings for each of us. I think it’s a reminder to reach out, to allow ourselves to feel in the most human ways, and to demonstrate love to our fellow man.

In life, in death, and in grief — we are not alone. We have each other, and more than anything, we have a God who cares more than we know.

© 2012 Judy Brizendine

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4 Responses to “We Are not Alone — the Bell Tolls for Each of Us”

  1. A sober reminder of solitude, the Lone Cypress near Carmel by the Sea where I lived in 1987. Amidst a rugged environment, perched above a perilous sea, it still does more than just survive, it thrives.

    A lesson for us who have been torn apart and remade stronger and more sensitive by sorrow?

    This from the Longest Night service at a local church as I grow through – yes, grow through another holiday season without my dear wife who went home to heaven over 11 years ago. The sentiments listed caused the tears to flow during a very reverent, loving and reflective service time.

    “A Service of the Longest Night is so named because of its proximity to the winter solstice – the longest night of the year. But the name is also fitting because – despite the trappings of gifts, special meals, and Christmas carols – the season can be darker than “normal” times of the year for those who struggle. The stresses and strains of trying to enter into a time of celebration take their toll. Many people have trouble feeling “the spirit of the season,” because of the recent (or anticipated) death of a family member or friend, the end of a marriage, the loss of work, loss of health or abilities, or other wrenching changes.

    However, those of us who struggle might find Christmas the most meaningful; people who walk in deep darkness long the most for light. For us a savior is born, to lift the burden from your shoulders, to wipe away the tears from our eyes.

    In the beauty and stillness of this place, know that none of us walks alone.”


    • admin says:

      What a beautiful comment, Peter. Thank you so much for reading the post and responding.

      Your reflections about the Lone Cypress and those of us who have walked through the unspeakable pain and sorrow of grief are true in my own life and I’m certain in the lives of countless others. The memories remain strong throughout the years, regardless of our present circumstances and the lives we’ve gone on to rebuild. I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious wife. I can identify since my husband went to be with the Lord almost 15 years ago. Even though I’ve been blessed tremendously to remarry, special times like Christmas can trigger memories and emotions from the past in all of us who have lost loved ones. And of course, other types of profound loss do take their toll at times of the year when the whole world celebrates as well as days and times that are special for individuals.

      Thankfully, we do have a Light in the darkness of the world! Thankfully, our God loves us unconditionally and forever. And, yes, thankfully we are not alone–none of us!

      Wishing you a beautiful, peaceful, and loving holiday season.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful message.


  2. Judy, I’ve loved this poem by John Donne since I first read it as a freshman in college many, many years ago. Its wisdom struck me then, and it still does today. Thank you for your lovely piece, which I will be sharing with my readers.
    My heartfelt wishes to you and those you love for a beautiful Christmas, and may we all be blessed with peace in the New Year. ♥

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your kind message and your Christmas wishes, Marty! I send the same to you, your family, and those you love! Yes, may we all be blessed with peace in the New Year.

      I so appreciate you and the wonderful work you do. God bless you!