How is your soul?
I have a dear, longtime friend, who often begins her conversations with this question, “How is your soul?" I always appreciate that someone cares about my soul, that someone draws my attention to it in the midst of life’s distractions. It is always a blessing to hear this question. So I ask you, friends, in these days of sheltering in place, of isolation, and even quarantine for some of you, how are your souls?
At times, my soul seems numb to all the pain and suffering in the world, to the discord and dysfunction of national leadership, to the extreme needs of those who do not have jobs they can work at home or those who do not have homes at this time. I cannot take it all in and I feel helpless.
At times, my soul is grateful for the greater abundance of silence and solitude I am having. More time to establish a deeper prayer and meditation routine. More time to read. More time to just BE. Time to watch the birds at the bird feeders. Time to walk and watch spring emerge.
At other times, my soul is impatient! Even impatient to the point of anger! Impatient with the lack of supplies for our medical workers in a country that sees itself as the most abundant in the world. Impatient with people who do not seem to be taking the seriousness of this pandemic to heart. Impatient with those who are not seeing how deeply we are all connected in the world.
This virus has revealed in a terrifyingly clear way that we are all connected in creation. No one is an island, no community is an island, no state or country is an island. The earth and all humanity and all living flora and fauna and the air we breathe and the land we live on and that sustains us with food and shelter – we are connected. My soul is eager, impatient to discover how we will take this to heart as a lesson hard learned from the pandemic.
At times my soul is very sad as it does take in the gravity and the immensity of the suffering emanating from the consequences of these times. At times my soul is worried and fearful for the health of loved ones, for the economic plight of so many friends who work in a gig economy. At times my soul is weeping from the pain.
At times my soul takes heart in a renewed sense of the presence of the Holy One who is still mysteriously holding all of creation in Love. These are the times I cherish. These are the times I have not said my prayers in haste, rushing off to the next meeting. I have taken the time to sink into the presence of the Holy, who I am sensing these days as Mother. I take time to pour my heart out to the Divine that is strong, powerful and compassionate, full of comfort. The time I spend with the Holy empowers me to move back into work, into relationship and into finding the seemingly small things that I can do to make a difference during these times of fear, uncertainty, and dis-ease.
How is your soul?
I invite you to ponder this question today and throughout your week, even as we hear the news of “re-opening” measures. What will you keep from your time of isolation? What will you let go from the time before pandemic that you have discovered you do not need? How is your soul in its divine relationship with the Holy directing you to move ahead as we continue to shelter one another in this completely connected world God has given us?
I leave you with words from Psalm 116 taken from the book, Psalms for Praying, by Nan Merrill.
Receive my love, O Beloved, You who hear my voice and my supplication.
You incline your ear to me, and I will call upon You with trust
for as long as I live.
When the snares of fear encompass me, when the pangs of loneliness envelop me,
I suffer distress and anguish.
Then I call upon you, my Rock: “O Beloved, I beseech you, come to my aid!”
Gracious are You and just; the Heart of all hearts is merciful and forgiving.
You preserve the simple; though I am humbled, You lift me up.
Return, O my soul, to your rest; for You, O Loving Companion Presence,
bestow grace upon grace, a balm for my soul.
You raise me up to new life; You dry my tears,
and guide my feet on straight paths.
Now, I walk hand in hand with Love in the land of the awakened ones.
I keep my faith, even in times of great turmoil;
I invite others to awaken to the joy of your Presence.
Blessings on the journey,
The Rev. Jane Anne Ferguson, Associate Minister, is a writer, storyteller, and contributor to Feasting on the Word, a popular biblical commentary. She is also the writer of sermon-stories.com, a lectionary-based story-commentary series. Read more