"No man is an island." - John Donne
Almost four hundred years have passed since the opening five words of John Donne's poem reminded us of our interdependence. What might Donne have been facing when he wrote those words?
Many of us are taught to not be dependent on others. I certainly internalized that lesson at a young age and as a parent I extolled independence while raising my daughter. Still, I wonder. When we lose sight - even temporarily - of the web connecting us to others, what price might we pay? Or, put another way: When we believe we achieve what we do without help from others, who are we forgetting to acknowledge?
I've spent more than seventy-one years claiming independence as a credo. Today, interdependence strikes me as a more sustainable and humane path forward. I am not an island. If adopting that posture makes me more vulnerable, or susceptible to being hurt or betrayed, or looking weak to some, I'm OK with all that.