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Lent Poems: Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale by Dan Albergotti

As I say in the video below my choice of this poem is influenced by the fact that during our first "locked-down Lent" last year I revisited some of talks I had given at Holden Village on the book of Jonah and repackaged them as our first online Bible study for members of my congregation and others, and prior to that I recorded the associated monologues, that had been kicking around for almost 20 years to kick off this YouTube channel. Jonah, and particularly the episode in the "big fish" is ideal for a lent/lockdown meditation For a bit of nostalgia I thought I would record this poem outside in our back garden as I had done with the videos of the monologues, but I decided to wear slightly warmer clothes and was glad that I wasn't doused in water, because it is still somewhat colder this year.

But I am also glad of having a back garden at all, and the ability to get out in it and the surrounding leafy avenues and parks to get some fresh air even in the midst of winter, unlike many who are having to cope with lockdown in much more cramped and less conducive conditions. And I am thankful not only that I received my first dose of the vaccine on Thursday, but for the fact of the vaccine/s at all, which will play their part in making sure that I am not recording videos in lockdown with allusions to Jonah next year and beyond.  Indeed I hear the poet encouraging me to
"Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait."

Lent and lockdown can both prompt a sense of frustration... longing for the waiting time to be over, lent, perhaps less so than advent, unless you have adopted a particularly demanding fast/spiritual discipline, or are longing for the taste of disappointing Easter-egg chocolate...

Waiting is something we are not necessarily good at... But there are plenty of things to be done in the meantime... or indeed, not done...

Some times it is good to simply tread water... or remember how to do so...



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