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Today I Have a Heavy Heart

January 20, 2016

I was going to write a short preview to a Crackers Front Range League tilt today between CSU and Air Force.  The news of the tragic death of Emmanuel Omogbo’s parents and twin niece and nephew has made that far less important today. Today we all grieve. 

And to Emmanuel and the rest of us, I offer this

For Whom The Bell Tolls

PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he 

knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so 

much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my 

state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The 

church is Catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she 

does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action 

concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which 

is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. 

And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is 

of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is 

not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; 

and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several 

translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, 

some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every 

translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves 

again for that library where every book shall lie open to one 

another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not 

upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this 

bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the 

door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit (in 

which both piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were 

mingled), which of the religious orders should ring to prayers 

first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring 

first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of 

this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to 

make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be 

ours as well as his, whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him 

that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that 

minute that this occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. 

Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes 

off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his 

ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove 

it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this 

world? 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. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing 

of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but 

must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the 

misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousness 

if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath 

enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and 

ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man 

carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none 

coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he 

travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not 

current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our 

home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to 

death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a 

mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his 

affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this 

consideration of another’s danger I take mine own into 

contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my 

God, who is our only security. 

– John Donne (1572-1631)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Judge Smails permalink
    January 20, 2016 1:30 pm

    Thank you Swoll

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