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.