“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 18 May 2012

All You Need Is Love

Often in this life, it is easy to pretend that all is well, that you are self-sufficient, that we don't need anyone's help. But eventually, there comes a time when relying on yourself is not enough. You need to reach out to another human being, and, in all humility, ask for what you need. There is no shame in this, or there shouldn't be. As John Donne wrote:

"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 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."

We are all "involved in Mankind" (or humankind). Love (or compassion) is the central truth of all religious traditions. Every time we reach out to another person, every time we feel their pain, every time we try to make someone else's world a better place, we are putting love and compassion at the centre of our lives. Which is where it needs to be. As St. Paul wrote:

"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ... And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love."

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