Who we are is something deeper than the things that have happened to us. It’s an essence that you can feel.
There are two instances that help me describe that feeling—that soul knowledge of myself or someone else.
When our dog, Bethlehem died, she was just under two years old and a giant Komondor/Great Pyrenes mix. My husband (at the time) wouldn’t come with me to the vet for her final moments because he had to work and he said he couldn’t handle it. So I carried her 150-pound mass up these tottering wooden stairs to the vet’s office. Cars zoomed by outside. I struggled until someone pulled into the lot, ran up the stairs and helped me, taking her back legs so we can carry her inside.
I’m not the physically strongest person and I couldn’t thank him enough for helping.
“My soul wouldn’t have been able not to help,” this random man said.
I’ll always remember that.
My soul wouldn’t have been able not to help.
He didn’t even have an appointment. He just saw us struggling and came.
Bethy was our first family dog and adorable. Em, our daughter, adored her. She let us dress her fluffy self up as a ballerina, as a firefighter, she let cats sit on her back. She barked at any and all threats.
We all loved her so much.
She grew a cancerous mass the size of a football on her leg. It took two weeks to go from nothing to something massive, something that the vet said had already invaded her system. She faded so quickly.
We had no choice, they said.
So I made the appointment and after that man helped us up the stairs, I sat on the floor with her, holding her head as she stayed still on the floor, sideways. I cried silently. The vet’s assistant started to weep. The vet teared up.
And the moment Bethy was gone, the entire room filled with peace. It was as if Bethy’s soul had taken up the entire space.
I will always remember that feeling and cling to it when I doubt about things like souls and essences and life after your body is no longer useful.
The other instance is a bit more chill. You know how sometimes you are only barely awake and you turn to the person you’re sharing a bed with and your brain can’t even form their name yet or you can’t even remember who they exactly are or look like, but you just recognize them there in the dark next to you?
It’s like that.
That’s what our souls are like.
They are an essence, a recognition, a comfort, a realization. They can fill up an entire room and also speak to half-asleep brains in the dark.
Sometimes, when I am afraid of what might happen, of mistakes I’ve made, of mistakes I might make, I tell that fear that I know it’s there, but that I know I am there, too. And that’s okay. You don’t need to be fearless. You just need to be you.
Fear can protect us from actual dangers (like running into the woods at night when you hear a predator) or stepping in front of a bus. But it also can keep us from taking some more lovely chances and opportunities.
And sometimes people in power use that fear to twist us into hating other people.
Fear has got a lot going on.
But love has got a lot going on, too. And that’s what you’ve got to cling to–the love part–even when the fear is calling to you to sink into its hollow. You’ve got to go for the love and the light and cling to it whenever you can.
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