** When I got up in the morning I turned on the water to wash my hands. In this regard I am a part of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. (Before an oil tanker turned over on I93 near the Reading water wells years ago, all of Reading was a part of a more localized water supply and purification system.)
** A bit later I logged onto my computer and posted my daily gratitude on Face Book, and in that, was a part of a community of friends with whom interests, joys, occasional frustrations, and news is shared.
** Mid-morning I went to work at a church in Winchester and there I was a part of that church’s financial system, taking care to record things properly, to alert the Treasurer to any potential problems, to research problems that arise.
** In the afternoon I was a part of a long-standing three way friendship with two other women. As we sat and lingered over our lunches we caught up and savored the news that each had to bring to the table. We were bigger than ourselves; we were kindred.
And of course there is more – the food that we eat reminds us that we are part of a much larger network of farmers, laborers, packers, truckers, wholesalers and merchants. A similar analysis can be made around the clothes we wear, the homes in which we live, the community and country in which we live with their various governmental watch-dogs and law makers.
John Donne said all of this long ago in the opening lines to his famous poem: “No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main.” We are not, we are never, alone. We belong – to something: to the human race, to a family, to a faith community, to a neighborhood, to a book group, a gym…and maybe one day even to a virtual choir!