The story goes that evil held sway over the earth and the earth became overcome with waters so much so that it that covered even the mountain tops. The waters remained day after day long after every living creature on the face of the earth tasted death. That is, every living creature save one family in particular and animals, two of each kind. At the appointed time, the chosen dove was sent out to spy out the land when the waters ceased from falling from the heavens. Return the dove did multiple times until the appointed time. The dove, a symbol of peace, delivered a promise of life then flew free.
The story goes that wickedness held sway over the peoples of the earth again. A particular man was chosen to go to them and urge them to turn from their wicked ways. This man was known as a prophet but instead of proclaiming truth decided to run from Truth. That is, he tried to run away but he got swallowed up in a whale of an adventure. The man survived and went forward as a prophet with a message but not before being tossed about in wretched circumstances. He was drenched in stench and drowning in the depths of darkness before he was willing to complete his appointed task, to be the person he was called to be. All’s well that ends well, you might say, for the man eventually returned to the people. He delivered to them a promise for life.
There’s one thing that I learned in that belly of despair. There’s just no easy or pretty way out of messy situation. You may feel like you’ve just been vomited out on dry land and the fowls of the air may circle overhead for a while in the hopes that you are dead. There’s just no easy or pretty way out of a messy situation and there’s no way to be a symbol of peace, to deliver a promise for life, when you’re running away.
Incidentally, my name is Jonah and as it happens, Jonah means dove.