‘Soul Care’ – I want to live carefully and wisely every one of my numbered days…
If you’ve read many of my Listening on the Journey… blog posts, you realize living life with intentionality and purpose is a high priority for me. One of the ways in which I do that is to choose prayerfully a theme each new year to guide the upcoming 12 months.
I’ve found this method works much better for me than making New Year resolutions or even setting specific goals. Generally, the theme is dropped into my heart in late October to mid-November.
In October 2016, I heard John Ortberg speak at a fundraiser event and was captivated by his style and message. The same night I heard him, I ordered his book Soul Keeping, and it became one of the most important I’ve ever read. Midway through the book, I knew my theme for 2017 was going to be ‘Discovering Soul Care.’ The past nearly 11 months have been ones of many pleasant discoveries.
As has been the case with so many previous year-long themes, what I’ve learned this year hasn’t been earth shattering. The 2017 theme has—as have ones in the past—provided sweet moments of profound awareness and gentle nudges in never-before-considered God directions.
During the past two weeks, while attending memorial services celebrating the lives of two lovely ladies, my ‘soul’ was reminded once again that my days are numbered, and I have no idea what the number of those days will be.
The first lady, Jen, passed away at 92, the result of age-related complications. The second was only 64 years old when she died. Cancer was the culprit claiming Cathy’s life.
In both women’s services, the ‘still small’ voice of the Spirit reinforced this truth: each day, if I am intentional, I can make healthy ‘soul care’ choices
in light of eternity.
Concerning willingness, a hymn I’d never heard was sung at Jen’s Service, “Here I Am, Lord (I, the Lord of Sea and Sky).”  The lyrics of the refrain reached deep into my soul reminding me that even though I am willing to do the work God created me to do, my insecurity often causes me to question whether I’m qualified or even if I’m on the right track.
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
I loved the wisdom in these words Cathy’s husband, Stephen, spoke at his precious wife’s service. “We’re not humans having a spiritual experience; we’re actually spiritual beings having a human experience.” Stephen’s words reinforce the focus of ‘soul care.’ In the past few months, I’ve come to believe that while God is in and over ALL of me, God has given me the privilege of being the steward of ALL I am, which encompasses my will, body, intellect, emotions, relationships, and spirit.
Finally, life is a whole lot more than whatever earthly days we travel. No one, I believe, illustrated that more beautifully than Cathy. Even though she suffered from a ‘terminal’ disease that would cause her earthly life to cease, Cathy declared, “I’m not terminal. I’m eternal.”
I’d like to close today’s post with a prayer for you and for me as we learn to number our days carefully.
Lord, thank you for these recent reminders that each of us is allotted a certain “number of days,” and in some mysterious way, you have determined—or, at least, you know— that number. I don’t understand this mystery, but I pray you will empower me and my reader friends to live every single day willing to say, “yes,” to you, diligent to seek wisdom from you, and remembering always this earthly life isn’t the end, but only a prelude to eternity. Amen
- Doing some on-line research about the song following the service, I learned it is a Contemporary Catholic liturgical hymn written by Daniel Schutte, a Jesuit priest, in 1981. https://www.flashlyrics.com/lyrics/dan-schutte/here-i-am-lord-42 ↑