“I don’t deserve a soul, yet I still have one. I know because it hurts.”- Douglas Coupland, The Gum Thief
John Ortberg concludes Chapter 1 of Soul Keeping by observing that we speak of the soul as a source of strength, yet we also speak of the soul as fragile. There is something about the soul that always seems to be at risk. In Our Town, Thornton Wilder writes that the word soul won’t go away, because in some way it speaks of eternity:
“Now there are some things we all know, but we don’t take ’em out and look at’m very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names and it ain’t earth and it ain’t even the stars. . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings.”
Yale psychologist and ordained minister Jeffrey Boyd, cited in the previous blog, writes of a woman named Patricia who, while in her thirties, suffered from the effect of diabetes, a heart attack, and two strokes. She went blind, experienced renal failure, and had both legs amputated. Despite her physical hurt, Patricia organized and ran a homeless shelter for a year prior to her death.
Patricia was Jeffrey’s wife. Yet, John Ortberg states that as Jeffrey watched her body crumble, he watched something deeper than a body shine. Pastor Ortberg concludes:
“We search for the soul because we’re curious. But not just that. The search for the soul always begins with our great hurt.”
Today’s question: How has your great hurt of your vocation loss focused your attention on your soul? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Soul power”