Popping in and out of stores this morning, kind of like island-hopping in the WWII Pacific Theater, for a variety of projects and with varying degrees of urgency. I was struck by one constant: the sound of a lone bell ringing. Yeah, the kettle collector, so ubiquitous we don't always see him (or often realize it's more frequently a 'her' and NOT a 'him'), ringing that solitary bell outside of many of the stores we frequent.
"Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed."
And serving as a (not especially silent) reminder that while for many, "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades", for too many others it's a hand to mouth existence and the arms are getting shorter and more tired by the moment. It's not that there aren't hard times in the land of plenty (thanks, Omar and the Howlers) the rest of the year, it's just for about six weeks (around Thanksgiving to the end of the year) we celebrate success with excess.
And for for those whose boats have yet to be lifted by the rising tide of economic prosperity, they are more visible this time of year.
That's why it's always a mitzvah to give something to the bell ringer. Be it a penny (I guess, technically a one-cent piece. The English have pennies, we don't in the USA. Guy Fawkes would have been hard-pressed around here.) or a dollar or more. What you can spare, please share. As unhappy with your life as you may be, as unfortunate a turn of events as you may be struggling to survive at this moment, someone, somewhere has it worse.
And we should give with a glad heart and with a prayer for someone who needs all the thoughts and prayers they can get.
John Donne was right:
Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.