Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

New Year and thinking of the far past



One of the losses I was able to rectify a few years back, was to purchase from Amazon my high school yearbook from 1967.  I remember one day in the year that I graduated finding out that we were the 50th class to graduate; the first being in 1967.  I remember looking at the picture of the first graduating class and thought how far back that was and how old they would be at that time; the age I am now.  Now here I am 50 years after the graduation of my own class and I find it surreal.  50 years now does not seem so long ago….a hundred years yes. 

When I pray, there are times when I experience a film that shows me the people from my past.  Of course, my classmates are part of that, as well as those I have encountered over the years.  They simply come past me in a long row and I feel connected to them and pray for them.  Some of men and women I encounter I only met for a moment. Like the woman who spoke to me in San Diego about going to her church and how her kindness to me has always been a deep part of my interior life.  Her presence to me and the way she listened was a good lesson that has had an affect on my life to this day.  Then there are others that I never think of, but yet come up anyway, very clear representations and so I pray for them and do feel a strong connection when I do.  Some are people who helped me, others, people I helped as well as those who hurt me and those who I have wronged in some way. 

It is good to have the yearbook because over the years I have connected with classmates that I never met in grade school or in high school.  So it is good to get a face with the person I meet on Facebook for the first time.  However, there are a few in my class that did make a deep impression on me.  And even before I got back with them after I got introduced to the internet, I never forgot them.  They were always in my prayers and thoughts.  There were Nan, Shirley, and Dennis, perhaps the most important people for me in High School.  I will leave out their last names, don’t want to embarrass them. 

It was not like we hung out, but they just made a deep impression on me and I became emotionally attached.  Now that I am in contact with them, I don’t need a lot of interface, but it is good knowing that they are still ‘alive and kicking’.   Others stay with me from the past.  A few from the Navy, which I can’t locate, but that is ok, it was great knowing them. 

Sometimes I believe that when we connect with others, even if not on a deep level, there is still some sort of deep personal connection that I am not conscious of but there all the same.  Like I said above, it comes out from time to time when I am in prayer and they all march before me.  Some have names, others don’t, but the connection is deep.  Of course, there is the possibility that I could be crazy as a loon.

Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery


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