Summertime is typically all about BBQs, vacation travel, camps, and time at the beach. All in the name of fun. All in the name of soaking in the sun and finding some restoration.
That may be harder to do this summer. With continued restrictions and cancellations in place because the pandemic is still swirling around us and with a continued need to push for racial justice, climate justice, immigration justice, food justice and a host of other related, vital causes it may be hard to find that elusive restoration.
Still, I hope you look for it. And I hope you find it.
In a recent video posting, I posed an age-old, John Wesley question that I hope you will carry with you into your altered summer plans and your dedication to social improvement. The question is:
How is it with your soul?
Wesley (1751-1781) was the founder of Methodism and would open his prayer meetings and bible studies with that question. How is it with your soul?
It is a great question for our overly engaged lives and our overly tumultuous world. It goes way beyond “how are you doing?” or even “how are you feeling?”
It asks a deeper question. It asks how are you deep down? How are you in the deep, deep down? How is your soul faring?
The only way to answer that question is to stop and make an assessment of your interior life.
That, in itself, is a challenge for many of us because we’re a bit afraid of what we might find if we do that. So some of us like being busy because it means we don’t have time to go inside and make that assessment. Or, at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Exterior noise is just fine because it means we don’t have to listen; listen to the interior.
So this summer, I want to encourage you to go into your interior life and see how things are going there—see how it is with your soul.
It is not as intimidating as you might think. You can answer the question of how is it with your soul by asking a couple of other questions:
Where am I connecting with sacred in my life?
What are the wedges that I have put in place that separate me from the sacred?
Where are the places in my life where my spiritual energy is leaking away?
These questions are a kind of prayer, really, and prayer is to the soul what breathing is to the body.
How is it with your soul? If, during these summer days, you find it is not well maybe it is because you don’t stop often enough; you don’t go inside enough; you don’t care for yourself enough; you don’t pray enough.
You cannot be there for others if you are not there for yourself. You cannot engage in causes that will improve this world if you come to them utterly drained.
You can’t live a fulfilling life if you are only barely here.
How is it with your soul?
Until we reconnect at the end of August, I wish you a refreshing, restorative, and re-centering summer.