When it comes to the last croissant we would probably share, or at least offer to do so, but there are other things that it is harder to share – a favourite sweet perhaps, the last square of chocolate.
I remember years ago in college there was only one slice of ham on the plate and eight people. All but one had had enough, but one person was still to take her second slice. She was Swiss and newly engaged, and as she reached out I couldn’t help teasing her ‘They say in England that if you take the last piece of food from the table you will never marry.’ She hesitated just for a moment and then declared ‘Oh, such nonsense.’ before taking the first bite-full.
They have now been married for many years.
There is another saying in England ‘Would you give him your last Rolo?’; a Rolo being a toffee wrapped in chocolate, of which you only get a few in a packet. It's considered to be a real test of true love, as the phrase means ‘Do you love him enough to share whatever you have?’
Luckily, there are some things it is easy to share. When I first met my husband we were both staying in the same house, high in the Himalyas where we were language students. To the front you could only see the garden, the remains of a tennis court, a road and a rocky cliff rising before you, but through the bathroom window at the rear it was possible to see the highest mountains in the range, some of which were across the border in China. It was these which used to catch the evening sun and shine like diamonds. If someone spotted those first sunset rays hitting the peaks they would call out ‘Come and see’, ‘You mustn’t miss this.’ and soon twenty or more people would be crowded into the bathroom trying to get a glimpse.
And there is a lot of sharing going on: let's face it, we are always sharing stuff on the internet. Is there such a thing as sharing a bit too much?
At two o’clock this morning my husband loved me enough to want to share. He had been out in the courtyard here and seen the stars all around – most nights there is some cloud, but this was a completely clear sky, 360 degrees and no light pollution, as we are three miles from the nearest village and even that is hidden behind forests and hills. Amazing! This was the sky the ancients saw when they exclaimed :-
‘When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have ordained; what is man that you take thought of him?' The writer was surely thinking of his own insignificance in terms of the universe.
Now, I have a new grandson. At the moment he is still at the stage where he thinks the universe revolves around him and his needs for comfort, food and all the rest. In time though he will come to realise that there are many people outside his house, his wider family and in the world. He will learn about history, nature, and the cosmos, and hopefully one day he will understand exactly what these words expressed all that time ago.