I was crossing the line from sleep to waking and was already making lists in my head. Post office, laundry, papers, mess, dishes…things I needed to get done to make way for the things I wanted to do, like meet an old friend for lunch. Before I even got out of bed, I felt tired.
I felt God taking me by the hand in that gauzy place between sleep and waking to say, stop. Look around you. Everything in this room: your quilt and mattress, the pile of laundry on the floor, and everything you’ll see as you leave this room: your dishes and the cabinets you’ll put them in, and even the people you will see, even your own very body…
The only thing in your room and your house and your life that will survive, and in fact will live forever is your soul. Why do you ignore it so?
My soul has been dragged across nails and jagged edges. It’s been ripped and soiled. I’ve marinated it in mess and then lacked the strength to pull it up out of the muck. My soul has faded to near disappearing in depression and despair. At times, it has seemed all but lost.
But each time my soul has endured one of these trials, my God lifts it up; battered, soiled, and weak as it is, and goes about the business of repair. He stitches, mends, washes, stretches and makes new. Because of Him, I have felt my soul glow warm and bright inside my chest. I’ve seen it recognize another like-hearted soul just by looking in a person’s eyes. I’ve felt my soul extend beyond me through my singing voice or hand or action to touch someone else. I’ve felt it respond to a word or a melody or some beautiful thing I see in nature. It tells me to pay attention, it steers me from danger, it reminds me I am loved. My soul cannot be destroyed, but it can be neglected. I do it all the time.
When I finally did meet that friend for lunch, I was reminded of the great, impossibly beautiful tapestry that God is making right before our eyes, with our souls and our lives. We were supposed to meet today, no doubt about it. She sings at church, too, and she has felt that unique, wonderful, inexplicable feeling of God singing through her. She knows what it is to walk hand in hand with God through toils and snares and through joys we can’t even explain. She knows how trustworthy He is, and how our efforts to draw close have to be like the very air we breathe. They are the disciplines that steer us and keep us on a good road: prayer, silence, humility. She reminded me of all these things over a couple of salads, and it was a blessed time, truly.
I left my friend feeling as though my soul had once again been tended by God, and with a new resolve to maintain my end of the deal.