Losing Souls

In my young evangelical days, I heard Mark 8:36 a lot: What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" It was usually understood as the undoing of a one-time salvation. Descent into the fiery pits, eternal separation from God, afterworld-y stuff.

The verse came to mind recently, though, as I was chatting with one of my favorite girlfriends. We were talking about people who make us angry (so angry we can feel it in our bodies), and we agreed that there's a point where we just have to let it go-- for the sake of our own souls. Please don't get me wrong-- I respect anger as a helpful roadmarker, one that lets me know something is deeply Not As It Should Be. But to stew in it, and let it mingle with resentment and hate... that's an entirely different beast. I'm coming to believe that our soul isn't something we lose once, irrevocably, but rather our truest self, which we lose track of many times, in many ways-- through fear, worry, hostility, hate, condescension.

I also believe it's something we can receive back. Last month, at the closing ceremonies of Spiritual Director's training, each of us spoke briefly about what the program had been to us. I shared that when I began, I felt as though I had lost my voice. Two years later, buoyed by the love of a wonderful community, it was coming back. A very dear friend (the kind who's family, even though he's not related) told me later that I hadn't lost my voice at all-- I just couldn't hear it for myself for a little while. Maybe that's the best possible definition of spiritual direction-- having someone to hear your voice. And I believe that through it, God saves our souls, and restores love, kindness, freedom, trust, and joy.

1 comment:

  1. glad you found a place where goodness brought a voice. I have been listening to that voice here, and it makes me joyful. I have lost myself in anger and bitterness and try to be aware when it begins to separate me from God.

    peace my friend. and enjoy those Coronas.. lime is a good choice.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins