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Time Is Unrelenting

by on May 31, 2022

Time Is Unrelenting

by Br. Mark Dohle

An ever timely post by Mark Dohle, a Cistercian (Trappist) monk who, contrary to common opinion about monks, does not have a lot of time on his hands —– unless you factor in eternity.

Please feel free to take the time to comment. There will be time to send you a reply. MMP

Time is Unrelenting

You know very well that everything that is of time is short-lived. So stretch out your arms to eternity. Long for eternity. This puts you on a higher plane, your heart forging ahead to this unknown, undreamed-of country. This is the way to get a close-up aim at the goal.

Bossis, Gabrielle. He and I (Kindle Locations 3645-3647).
Pauline Books and Media. Kindle Edition.


Thinking about eternity is not escapism, but can be a big help in trying to see what is really important in our lives.  What is worth the effort?  Aging brings us to a time in our lives when we have to face that question.  Each day as it rapidly passes by, shows us the ultimate futility of hoping in anything that is passing.  Yet we can still cling.  Still working on that.

Greed, asks of us that we use all of our energy to ‘get’, ‘own’, and ‘dominate’ the world around us.  Even if everything slips through our fingers, greed can still spur us onward.  Greed in all of its manifestations is shortsighted and does not think about consequences.  The destruction of the environment for financial gain is probably one of the most obvious.  We are not here to devour, but to seek to grow in love.  It is our nature to be loving beings, but the love of something less than what we are called to is destructive for both body, and soul. 

This life is important, perhaps more important than often realized.  Choices matter, how we treat ourselves and others, is probably much more important than we realize.  Once we can actually understand how swiftly our lives progress, it is then that maybe we learn.  Another thing I am still working on.

Old age is a very interesting time of life.  Like every season of our lives, old age has its challenges.  Letting go is perhaps one of the most difficult.  Each day can bring its lesson in this regard.  I can’t run anymore for instances.  It would be tragic, and funny to see me trying to do that.  I can walk fast, but running? My knees, lower back, and lungs would let me know soon enough how foolish that is.  Balance is not what it used to be.  Nothing works the way it used to.  Yet, I am happy to be aging. 

Why is everything so short-lived?  I find it funny that people get excited about being immortal, yet we can barely deal with the years we have.  In any case, no matter how long we live, in the end, it will speed by.

The eternal aspect of ourselves, our mind, that which is actually only seen and known by God, can wake up when the ‘things’ of our youth are taken from us, one, by one.  A call to patient endurance for sure.  In the time of our ‘old-age’, we can learn to seek a deeper joy, one that is based on a trusting understanding that we are pilgrims on an often difficult journey, yet we are never alone.

Faith in God does not make life easier, but it does fill it with meaning.  We are creatures that seek meaning in our lives.  Our libraries, and bookstores, are filled with the thoughts, and insights, of deep thinkers who try to lead us into living more meaningful lives.  Some of these books are much better than others. 

If our essential nature and our deepest desires are based on finding love, perhaps when Jesus commanded us to ‘Love God with our whole being’ and to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves’ makes perfect sense.  Anything less than that will only lead us to deeper frustration.  What is loved can’t be bought, owned, or hoarded, it can only be shared.  God is the biggest sharer.

The problem is that our ideas of God are often so infantile that it only leads to deeper self-absorption.  It takes a lifetime for the Lord to reach most of us, and it seems to be part of our lives, this slow taking away from us what we believe is essential until there is nothing left but for us to surrender.  Now that is something I am really working on.-Br.MD

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  1. Thank you, Mark. In examining Buddhism and in teaching Death & Dying while working with end of life patients Time is certainly a central issue. We learn that all things are impermanent, sometimes paying more attention to what is lost than to what is gained during that transition. The melding of Buddhism and Quantum Mechanics has, for me, opened me to a realization of Time being an illusion. And, that realization makes the moment indescribably fuller than it would have been had it been just another mark on a clock face.

    I often chastised the habit some have of referring to a death as, “He died before his time” or “She lived a full life”. How do they know?

    I share the changes you are going through, and admit that sometimes I’m not entirely pleased with the replacements. Thanks again.


  2. mkdohle permalink

    I can remember an event that happened when I was around four. I had an aunt who was 15 years older than me and one evening she came to our home, dressed for a party. She was beautiful. when I saw her I became sad (I think) and thought she will be old soon. I guess children know more than realized by adults. I believe we lose certain understandings that may be a given for children.

    Aging is not easy, but if it has no meaning, it is a nightmare i believe. If we are on a journey, and not rushing to a ‘dead-end’, then we can see things differently.


  3. Agreed. Culture, with all its beliefs and presumed knowledge, forces the child into an ever narrowing canyon of thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful thoughts Mark, I enjoyed reading and this very much resonated with me. Life at the core always come back to love and your description of beliefs about God are infantile summed it up well for me. I also feel you are right about how we treat ourselves and others is more important than we realize. Thank you for sharing this 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    • mkdohle permalink

      Thank you Julie. I guess it takes a lifetime to grow and mature in such a way that deep healing comes about. It has been a show journey for me, and still have a long way to go.



  5. Referring to your comment above Mark about children having certain understandings that is lost as we get older, I feel this is true. I feel children generally have a higher intuitive ability as they don’t have the filters adults take on board throughout life. I remember as a child being able to “see and feel” adults very clearly.

    Yes perfectly put Marco, “Culture, with all its beliefs and presumed knowledge, forces the child into an ever narrowing canyon of thought.”


  6. Thank you, Julie. As a child I learned to avoid adults whenever possible, and not internalize what they had to say. But then, my circumstances were different.

    Thanks, and in that canyon we are encouraged to develop confirmation bias. An insidious affliction.


  7. Dana permalink

    Thank you for another thoughtful entry, Br. Mark. With parents who are nearly 80 and 76 “time” seems to be passing me by at an alarming rate. I’ve spent most of my life separated from them, which wasn’t my choice. Trying to be that loving being about which you spoke hasn’t always been easy. Today I know it is the best and most peaceful choice, even if there are vast differences in opinions and views.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mkdohle permalink

      We often grow in love when we have to exert some effort and cannot just float along. Love, calls us beyond our comfort zone. Family is a good school to teach that. I am glad that you are now back with your parents. I have no doubt that they feel blessed with you in their lives.

      In the NDE, when a life review is experienced, what is often most important, is what we humans can pass by as not worth noticing. Loving kindness seems to be the one big lesson we have to learn. To see the beauty in those who are much different than us. To do it anyway, to love anyway.


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