Thursday, October 13, 2011

Feeding the soul

How do I know – when do I know – that my soul needs feeding?

The answer is easy: my soul always needs feeding.

If the answer’s so easy, then why do I starve it? Why do I go for long periods on my own “spiritual steam?” Why do I need a major upset or crash to center myself again?

Likely because I’m human.

Likely because I like to play out in the rain even when I know I should come in and dry off.

So what do I do to dry off?

I read the Bible. I think I’ve read every book of the Bible at least three times. Yet in the times when I need to feed my soul, I find myself returning to the Gospel of St. John, 1 and 2 Samuel and David’s psalms, and the Book of Acts. It’s a “back-to-basics” impulse, especially John’s gospel. It was the first book I read after becoming a Christian. Perhaps for that reason, it’s the one I feel the most rooted in.

I read other books. My tastes run to the eclectic – poetry, mysteries, thrillers, suspense, literary, spiritual, history, even the occasional romance. Lately, when my soul needs something serious, I’ve been turning to the poetry of Scott Cairns, the professor at the University of Missouri whose poetry workshop I participated in at Laity Lodge in Texas last year. I’ve been seeking out and finding other poets who tackle spiritual subjects, like D.S. Martin and Benjamin Myers.

I read what others write on their blogs. Huge reservoirs of encouragement and education sit out on the internet, there for the reading. If you take a look at my Saturday good Reads, you’ll see that I have favorites writers I return to again and again, as well as new ones that I find.

I ride my bike, Although, there hasn’t been much of that lately with the back issue I’ve been dealing with, but taking off on my bike, listening to the wind in my ears, feeling all that energy pumping through my legs and body – it’s wonderful.

I do things, like go to movies and plays and museums. I’ve been finding myself developing an interest in and taste for contemporary art, something I never would have dreamed up even five years ago. Favorite places in St. Louis: the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Favorite place in Chicago: the Art Institute.

I write. I write poetry, blog posts, fiction. I’ve mentioned the one novel moving through the system. There’s another (and related) completed manuscript behind it. And a few more after that. And the one I’m currently working on. And the one I’m planning after that.

And sometimes I just sit. Not often, ind you, but sometimes I just sit. And listen.

At Bonnie Gray’s faith jam at Faith Barista today, she’s asking for responses to “feed your soul.” To see other posts, please visit the site.

Photograph: Sparrow at Bird Feeder by Ed Hoskins via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.


H. Gillham said...

The aches that people feel sometimes that they just can't explain -- is probably hunger pains of the soul. We do need to give it a steady diet of the Word.

For the first time, I am in a Bible study of the book of Acts. :)

BTW: Are you a Cardinal fan? I am when they are not playing the Braves. :)

Anonymous said...

"Likely because I like to play out in the rain even when I know I should come in and dry off." This line was so poetic and so true. Hope your back gets better so you can get back to bike riding~

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

I will pray for your back to get better! I agree the Bible is my soul food. And, I enjoy architectural design, paintings, funny movies, Star Wars, painting, writing, singing to Christian music (unless it's classical- secular is depressing to me, I have too much experience in life). I have dreams of writing a novel, and illustrating & writing a children's book. Making photography a profession. Jesus is my rock, the Bible helps me focus. It's good to be eclectic. To be open to things- I gotta get some exercise today too : ) God bless!

JofIndia said...

It's when my soul is most in need of feeding, that the spiritual diet becomes seriously unpalatable..

Maureen said...

I like that you're developing an interest in contemporary art. More looking will make you more discerning, and you will find that many artists create from a very deep place inside and somehow make it real on the canvas.

Lisa notes... said...

I love the Bible books you recommend here, Glynn. Such good choices for feeding our souls. Our church has been doing a sermon series on John for a long time now, and it is very nourishing.

And yes, there are many other books and writings that feed us as well. Blog reading is a huge source of encouragement for me.

Sheryl said...

Reading is so nourishing. I find myself rereading beautiful words and phrases. A well crafted sentence makes my soul soar for a few moments. Thanks for letting me be a kite for a few moments.

I didn't know about your Saturday Good Reads--I'm headed there next.

Larry, aka The Kid and The Old Goat said...

Funny thing about reading the Bible over and over. It somehow alway becomes new.


S. Etole said...

Silence, listening, praying ... and reading.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I love the metaphor of feeding the soul. I love that the Word is pure milk, and we are to grow up to eat the solid food of truth.

And I love all these ways you feed that soul of yours, Glynn. Our souls our hungry, aren't they?

Patricia said...

my soul always needs feeding...

looks like you have priorities right... in the stillness and rereading do we find those new words he gives to us, that were always there right under our nose.
A prayer for a healthy back and full recovery.

Caroline said...

YES: "The answer is easy: my soul always needs feeding." So, so true.

And I turn to the Psalms for soul-feeding as well. Ooh, and yes to the Gospel of John. Even the first chapter strikes me with "the Word become flesh."

And I agree with this: "Huge reservoirs of encouragement and education sit out on the internet, there for the reading." The blogging community has been amazing... encouraging, insightful, and inspiring.