Can I say that I’m “reading” a book if I’m actually “listening” to it through Audible? I think yes.
So I’m “reading” Bonhoeffer — which, for the record, should only take me a total of 22 hours according to the app. Twenty-two. That’s a thick book…I would imagine, if my version was on actual paper.
Anyway, I was listening to, I mean reading, it the other day and it messed me up. Like, I was undone while driving. And I’m not even to the part that tells me of Dietrich’s martyrdom. It was just a story — a description — of his mom.
The author says that Dietrich’s mom was the “soul and spirit of their home.” Soul and spirit.
It doesn’t sound as devastating now when I type it out but it spoke to me. The author goes on to say that Dietrich’s mom read poetry to her kids and sang hymns with them and performed dramas in the basement and set up a carpenter’s area in which the boys could to do their “work” and… lots of other awesome things. Mostly, she was present-active.
And I didn’t feel guilty. As neither should you. I just felt inspired. I mean, I can’t sing well. And we don’t have a basement. But I want to be the “soul and spirit of our home” — not in a weird theologically incorrect way, just in a motherly way. I want my kids to look back to their childhood and see me present, my eyes looking straight into theirs.
I want to inspire them to create and learn and develop into the one that their God designed them to be — unique and beautiful. I want to be a safe place for them to be messy and emotional or even confused about their faith. The soul and spirit of our home.
But the more I think about it, we are the soul and spirit of every minute we take up. Or at least a soul and spirit. The question is, “what do we leave behind?” Because whatever is in us pours out of us. If we’re full of fear and worry, that’s what will come out. If we’re full of anger and bitterness, that’s what will come out. But if we’re full of love, peace, faith, and hope, well…
Our soul and spirit touches every space.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
It’s not about guilt. Guilt isn’t from our God. Guilt points and jeers and blames. It doesn’t spur on. It crushes.
It’s about inspiration. The inspiration to be fully present, overflowing the love of our God onto those beside us.
Love that gives us a glimpse into the soul of another. Love that drives us to be all-there because the minutes are fleeting, and babies grow to be kids who grow to be…gone. Love that says, “Now is all we have. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow never comes. Be all here.”
Love inspires. Kindness inspires. Being fully present in this moment, and then the next, inspires. You and me watering the soul of another so that it blooms into all its intended splendor.
That doesn’t mean that the grape juice won’t spill all over the kitchen floor. Or hormones won’t rage. Or someone won’t have a bad attitude for the day/week/year. It just means that as much as depends upon me and you, we can pray, “Lord make me the soul and spirit of this place, this moment, reflecting the beauty of Your tender love.”
It has to be of the overflow — us so full of God that He spills out onto those with whom we share space. Us walking in step with the Spirit of God by reminding our hearts of His Word and promises and strength. Reminding ourselves that people matter more than tasks. Us calling a friend for intercession when we’re at our breaking point. Us choosing to worship God regardless.
The soul and spirit of a place — the soul and spirit who reflects the tender presence of her Lord. May it be said of me.
Fill me, Lord…
These days, I would describe my soul and spirit as _______________. (Fill in the blank)