Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Swallowed

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Jonah-whale-Dohle-webIts all me,
that is the hard learned lesson slowly coming to light,
my reactions and sufferings are my own,
the world I live in flows from my deep subjectivity
making my desire to be objective impossible
though it is not a fool’s errand to try.

I am often swallowed,
devoured like Jonah,
the belly of the whale being my own inner chaotic world
often imprisoned for three days or perhaps more
in a place of unrest and inner chaos,
seeking to place blame
or find a cause outside of my own inner wanderings.

Submerged deep in the dark realms of the unconscious
I seek footing that is not there,
calling out for grace and help
which comes when the course has finished its run.

When I surface from the inner depths
my mind and clarity returns,
perhaps something learned,
or not;
the way is slow and ponderous.

God is compassionate towards me,
I am not,
perhaps that is the lesson needs learning;
love and compassion,
forgiveness,
needs to start with myself,
the rest will flow from that awareness.

God is love
therefore God is found in human love,
also in love of self
for me the hardest thing of all.

Until then my own self hatred
my self denigration,
will swallow me until I am digested,
and this false judging cruel self
is no more,
who will be there
when this “I” is no more.

Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery

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