Someone I very much respect and trust recently reminded me: Your soul is beautiful. It is a treasure, it is unique and, most importantly, worth loving. Which, of course, implies it’s possible to not treasure your soul, not protect it, not even know it well enough to love. I keep thinking of this. It’s like these words were sticky, and they’ve adhered to my brain in an inconvenient posture, pestering me to address them. It’s like my sweet Southern friends always say, “You’ve been on my heart, lately.” Well, these words have been on mine, and I wonder, if like me, you’ve forgotten to love your beautiful soul.
At the beginning of the school year, sometime when it wasn’t a honeymoon anymore, and Boise was no longer shiny new, just unfamiliar and scary new, Ellie told me (through tears) in the car, “Mom. There (Tyler, where we moved from) I felt like a firework. Here, I feel like a stinky shoe.”
She has a way with words. 🙂 She often expresses a profoundly complicated experience in very clean, creative words. It’s like she’s the razor for Occam, but with a little flair. We were all feeling a little down, a little sad, a little weird. In this new place, with new roads, new friends, new school routines. And “there,” in our familiar, comfortable, supportive reality, we felt better, we felt alive, we felt we could breathe. As an adult, I knew these feelings would change, and we’d find happiness and peace in our new world. Because you always do. But Ellie didn’t know that, yet. And she felt, so aptly described, as run down and worn out as a stinky shoe. “My God,” I thought, “how do You expect me to help my sweet, precious, fantastic daughter to feel less like fungus and more like a sparkler? What can I do, what can I say, to help her remember that she is my greatest treasure, and will that be enough for her to sparkle again?”
When was the last time I cared for my own soul, my own sparkler, with such tenderness and patience? And if I was asked to name all the things that I love, how long would it take for me to name myself? You, how long would it take you? Rick Warren says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” And in thinking of myself, that isn’t conceit or selfishness or frivolous, it’s necessary. So if I’m trying to be honest and strong and good and responsible, shouldn’t I be thinking of myself, caring for my soul, protecting and nurturing not just my mind and my body but my essence?
That’s a hard yes.
From my little heart to yours, I wish you strength on this journey of self discovery. With my fragile soul and malleable spirt, I pray for yours, and I hope you make time and space to love yourself. I’m going to try to keep myself, and my kids, from being stinky shoes. I’m not sure firecrackers are possible, but I like to hope they are.