How to Talk to Your Own Soul

water the flowers

It has just started pouring hard like fingers tapping on the windows. This morning hour of navy grey is when the cars have solidified their hum, and over the top is the tapping. We’re up with the grownups, and children are beginning to stir. We pray them deeper into bed and yank tight the rope we’ve slung around solitude. It thunders, and I breathe.

I am more and more impressed these days with how little I sit down. Yesterday I ate three pieces of bacon for lunch while running between children and their books, but then I sat with a bowl of ice-cream. I sat by the window and considered myself a whole person and that maybe I should eat something green. Instead I had a short thought, a leaning, a prayer toward God, because until I sit down, I don’t realize how divided I am, how hungry. His presence is all that helps me know what is within me.

My hardest work these days is to keep myself from fractioning, my mind from my body from my soul. I could ask my soul all day long, “how are you?” but usually I wouldn’t know the answer. I can ask my body how it is, and I’ll know quickly that my back hurts. I can ask my mind, and she would slur out a slow, “fuzzy.”

Even still, we are doing this thing. Rhythm is straight from Jesus. Music and season. Digging sweet potatoes and tilling ground. Morning prayer, then history, then math. Hearing rhythm and moving with it is an act of wisdom, and I know it. I am fractioned, yet comforted so much by the tempo of our life. It moves me slowly toward health in my whole person. I am so grateful to not be interrupted by visits to the hospital for Titus. I listen closely on rainy days. These are days that rhythm gives signal to slow down. Jesus waters the flowers today.

When Seth gets home from work, I am happy. This is the last movement in the song for the day. This is the first time in my life that I have feared I wouldn’t be enough for him, because I never sit down. If I don’t catch my solitude hours, I forget that I am more than a body. I think all I need is bacon. When I am fractioned from myself, I know I am fractioned from my husband.

When Seth took his first steps into recovery, his body was a mess inside. He was like electricity running backward, like energy that needed to come out but kept being caught in inner currents. We learned that if I held his body for 20 seconds at least, it seemed that the current could pass on to me, and I wasn’t caught in loops like he was. We are relief to one another.

These days, I am the one caught in the current. He comes home, and my loops unwind. I wish I weren’t so needy, and yet this metaphor of man and wife, aren’t we reflecting God? Isn’t there something of wholeness reflected between us, the two as one. Don’t we often go about life so completely fractioned from ourselves, our spouses, and our God that we forget the circulatory system running between us?

If you say to your soul, “How are you?,” but your mind responds, “I am foggy, but who knows about the soul?” Then gather up the fog. It is one of the faces of grief. Ask of God that He remove it so you can see what it actually covers. He is already there for what comes next, if what hides is a crushed soul.

To be a whole person, you have to know how you’re doing. When you go to God, bring yourself right. Bring you all the way. Bring you sad. How can you ask Him to heal the heart if you don’t even know what you are?

This is the way of sorrow, how intimately, deeply, and divinely hope and joy can intermingle in those with broken hearts. In the rhythm of tapping on the window, the sun comes through. I see my sadness, and I see my Jesus bearing up under it. My heart rises up, as real life as the hands typing these keys. My heart is not in the fog. My soul is a bird to its mountain. I know what I am. I know who I love.



dog days

Dog Days

It has been a blowdryer kind of hot here in Arkansas. I look out these windows and see such beauty, but I promise it’s a trick. The air is as thick as mud, like when you’re in one of those dreams where you’re being chased, but your body will only move heavy and in slow motion. […]

Yes to the Little Green House

I said yes to a little green house with a big garden and two rows of fruit trees. It’s like a mansion if your standard were teeny tiny houses. There’s a clothesline here, and the breeze beneath my shade trees is a gentle one. We’ve been waiting for a gentle time. We’ve been waiting for […]


A Final Haines Home Companion: a Secret I’ve Kept

Yesterday I posted this to Facebook: “This mothering of 4 small boys is no freaking joke. I am a hard core mutha. I drive a mini-van, and I can only do about 5 pushups, but I promise that I could walk into the scariest place you can think of right now, and I wouldn’t blink […]


String Theory

Our friendship circle tightens around hospital beds and stuck dissertations like thread on a spool. We feel the whoosh of summer, the go round, and try to help each other in perpetual catch up. Once I heard that as we age, time begins to move faster and faster. I’ve read quantum theories. I feel it […]

be the child

Be the child, then revolution.

If you were to ask me what I understand the Sunday service is for, I would say to meet together to remember and ingest our shared brokenness in Christ, to remember the pouring out. We meet for communion. We meet like hungry kids at a table. But church is not only Sunday morning. We know […]


One on One

On our front porch, I have hanging pots of petunias. I’ve always loved petunias. Every time we walk past them, a bird flutters out by our heads, all bothered, so my oldest son said, “Mama, pull that down. I bet there’s a nest in there.” So I did, and there was one. We didn’t touch […]