The other day as I was driving to the mountain for my sunrise Trail work, I passed an ambulance in front of a house and saw two paramedics draping a gurney. It was obvious they were getting the gurney ready and that, very shortly, someone would be on that gurney and then in the ambulance.
For whatever reason, I immediately thought of John Donne’s “for whom the bell tolls” line.
As you may know, John Donne was a sixteenth century English priest, poet and preacher.
He once said “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 bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
His beautiful prose captures the power of our interconnectedness. And… That last line is what popped into my head as I saw the medics and imagined the individual who would soon be on the gurney.
Don’t ask for whom the gurney is being prepped. It’s being prepped for YOU.
I was struck by the realization that one day I would be on a gurney like that.
I took a moment to imagine that moment—offering a silent prayer that the day would come after many (!) more decades of vibrant health and joyful living. And, with a loving family surrounding me. And, hopefully they’d just take me out on that AFTER I passed away peacefully at home with a smile at, like 103, if all went well. (🤓)
Until we learn how to live forever (which is actually the subject of a +1 coming soon)…
It’s going to happen. To all of us.
That’s obviously not a news flash but it’s easy to ignore that reality and then go on wasting precious moments as if we’re going to live forever.
When you hear an ambulance’s siren today, don’t ask for whom the siren wails.
Know that it wails for thee.
Take a deep breath. Send a blessing to the person in that ambulance. (And the people serving him or her.)
And, remember that, ultimately, that siren wails for YOU.
And… Most importantly, let’s return to this moment and live like we mean it.