My cupboards are frantically and determinedly ordered. Clutter from the kitchen cupboards is removed and the recycling bin is full. My purse is the same. The junk that has accumulated for weeks, months even, is thrown out or has found another home outside my purse. The laundry is done, save for a few socks and the odd underwear that escaped the machine, mainly because they are on someone’s body. Computer screens have not even escaped my nervous frenzy and they shine back at me in their blue-screened, cyber-spaced glory.
I was walking around the house, my eyes sharply looking for more to dust and clean when I suddenly realized – my house is clean, but my soul is cluttered and restless. As I came to this inner truth, I stopped. How do I redirect myself and pay as much attention to my soul as I am paying to the stuff that doesn’t really matter? The cupboards that will yet again become chaotic and the shelves that will accumulate dust bunnies in a short time?
The more attention I frantically pay to the external, the less I have to think about the wrongs that need to be righted inside, the apologies that need must be voiced, the worry that needs to be confronted, and the “do by self” attitude that has taken over, making me feel like a two-year old that is so determined to do it on her own that she fails to see it’s far more complicated going it alone.
I wonder too, if the analogy can also apply to the soul of a society. The more cluttered,chaotic and restless it becomes, the more there is need to put rules and legislation in place to create order that will never satisfy and never bring about the wanted results.
As I finally sat down and allowed myself to do some difficult self-analysis I looked back on some old journal entries and found some remarkably helpful things. I have listed some of them in the hopes they will resonate with others.
It’s hard to get enough of something that almost satisfies
“Communion with God is replaced by activity for God” ” The voice that calls to us in this place is none other than the voice of God. We cannot hear his voice if we have lost touch with our heart.” (the Sacred Romance)
Put first things first and eventually second things will follow. Put second things first and you lose both. Everything other than intimacy with God is second. – partially CS Lewis
“Life is difficult, God is Merciful, Heaven is Sure” – unknown
They say that the first and hardest step in problem-solving is figuring out what the problem actually is – often what we think is the problem is just a symptom of a bigger issue. As I close this, I think I’ve figured out the first step. It will be followed by tea time and soul-care pondering the words St. Augustine said many years ago:”Our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee, Oh Lord”.
Bloggers Note: John Stott, a true leader in the Evangelical world and a noted Biblical scholar died yesterday at 90 years old. It is a wake-up call for a restless soul and a reminder that soul-care is the most important endeavor in which I can be involved. In 2004 David Brooks of the NY Times wrote a piece titled “Who is John Stott?” It is an excellent piece and can be found here.
It (Stott’s) is a voice that is friendly, courteous and natural. It is humble and self-critical, but also confident, joyful and optimistic…..He is always bringing people back to the concrete reality of Jesus’ life and sacrifice. – David Brooks 2004