A Monk’s Duty

Photo credit: Lost in Translation (http://bopaula.wordpress.com/)
Photo credit: Lost in Translation (http://bopaula.wordpress.com/)

The walls towered above him – a man who had dedicated his life to God. His footsteps echoed along the stone path as he walked towards his duty, basket in hand. He had been against walking these pathways, against walking where others walked without piety. His desire was to stay within the walls of the monastery, toiling peacefully with others who desired the same. That was the life he had wanted, and expected, when he had joined the brotherhood of monks. And yet now he was expected to do otherwise.

How hard it was not to rail against the authority that  had sent him out into this world to walk these silent and narrow streets. He had fought hard to suppress the “I”, to suppress his own wishes and desires. He had needed a reminder that ultimately he had promised to do God’s work – and that at times God’s work required him to deal with the other members of God’s creation.

He passed crumbling walls and walls damp with mould and water marks. He turned the corner and approached his destination. He heard the sound of the revellers, and the temptations that waited within the stone walls. He climbed slowly up the steps, whispering a prayer to God to protect him from the men and women who would attempt to lead him astray. He was here to help heal the governor. He would complete his duty and then return to the sanctity of the monastery.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This piece of writing was inspired by Paula’s b&w photo that she allowed me to post with my writing. Join her, and others, for her Thursday’s Special Challenge)


32 thoughts on “A Monk’s Duty

  1. I don’t know where and how you come up with ideas, Colline. Is it the work with kids that inspires you so much or your reading? I can’t say how honoured I am with this piece of writing. Hats off to you for your amazing talent. Humbly, Paula


    1. I don’t know where the ideas come from Paula. And know that when I looked at your photo, had this idea germinate. I thank you for allowing me to use your work as a springboard to my imagination. And it was such fun 🙂


  2. Colline – enjoyed this with Paula’s photo. Before I read your piece – I was drawn in to the photo – the depth pulls you right in – and with all that soft focus – which almost feels like a faint sepia tone more than B & W (but I can ask Paula about that) well I at first thought it was laundry hanging – it blended in and was so subtle…
    now mind you I was on my first sip of coffee and was just barely awake – but it is subtle and the pale tones of the photo were easy on the eye –
    so then I realized – oh – it’s a monk….
    (and coincidentally – isn’t that how Monks are – not loud – and then blend right subtle with their presence)
    and then I read – your well crafted words –
    ah – so nice. and alone the words would be great – but you really did pair it with the photo so well – this play on singularity and global outreach –
    and this….
    “had sent him out into this world to walk these silent and narrow streets….”
    and the soft angst you let us feel with him – with his footsteps where he
    “would complete his duty”

    and the two windows above seem to integrate well with the duality you give us between the time to be in solitude versus the time to do outreach –

    and looking at the windows again – the top one has windows that are closed off, covered, shut and intentionally closed off – whereas the lower window we can see the dark glass – and that just fits in to the feel of the Monk….
    as somehow layered in all this you touched upon this unusually calling between serving self or serving men…


    and in this tasty photo from Paula – we also have the arched window to the upper right – which your piece also seems to work well with – that arch seems to open to the world – the corridor it opens to is inviting and another door awaits – maybe reminding us more of the outreach we are all called to or that more social opportunities will always be coming up….


    okay, lastly, I also enjoyed the way the words matched the bricks to the left – with the shadows…and the feel of the roof and one lamp post above the man – hmmmmm

    ~~~ enjoyed this combo and good morning to ya!


      1. well of course you imagine more of the story – that is just the writer you are! and I will check out the other one – how fun!

        and speaking of fun – I want to share what I thought the Monk was doing…

        he is late for his morning exercise – and as the small group awaits – he is still getting dressed as he rounds the curve – and as he draws the string on his robe to get things on – he thinks, “I could sure use some green tea….”



    1. Thank you Jo. When I saw Paula’s photo for the first time I could sense a story brewing. Not often one thinks of creating a monk’s story 🙂


  3. Wonderful interpretation of the photo. I hope the monk’s time away from the monastery is quick, he has his faith and belief to strength him, and that the governor recovers, and the monk need not come to him on a regular basis.
    Great piece of writing!


    1. I always like to believe that the forays into the world helped to strengthen the monks’ faith and belief in God – though I do know some were tempted by worldly temptations.


  4. I think you did a wonderful job Colline in drawing a picture of this man with his…what would you call it…desire to serve God but pushed out of his comfort zone to do it.


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