What’s on Your Soul/What’s in Your Soul?
I had just watched a viral video of an anti-masking couple who’d gone into a Eugene, Oregon bakery, it seemed, with evil “just looking for trouble” intent. X-ing out of the browser, I thought, has America just completely lost her mind? Her heart? With the hate of the world on my shoulders compounded by personal issues bearing down on my soul, I hefted my lead leg over my bike and headed out on a ride, unaware of the gift up ahead. Rounding the corner, I spotted someone in the distance who was doing what appeared to be, the most outlandish, over-the-top dance moves as they pranced along the paved bike path. As I got closer, I could see the woman, say 70ish, maybe older. Jazz hands in the air, twirling, it was a sight—the most exuberant, creative combination of groovy, fluid dance styles–hip hop, contemporary, ballet, freestyle, you name it. Full commitment. No sound. No one else around, just her and the sweet spirit inside that moved her. I’ve seen exercisers maximizing their routine by doing extra, often odd movements or carrying weights, for example, but this was something else entirely. This was not that. This was more than someone getting more bang for their workout buck. This was love and light. This was pure joy, complete freedom. I coveted her wild freedom. Passing her, I saw sweet, authentic bliss on her face that seemed illuminated in light. I felt my grin emerge. She noticed and yelled, “Now there’s a beautiful smile!”
I yelled back, “I love your spirit!”
“And I love yours!”
If she only knew what had been in my spirit right before I saw her—what was on my soul. I didn’t even know I had a smile available. I thought they were all gone.
In an instant—in a perfect, juxtaposed moment—her energy released something stubborn in me. It unburdened my mind, released me from the darkness. The image of her reminded me of David dancing before the LORD and then the Luke 6:45 scripture about “the overflow of the heart.”
Experiencing her was a reality-check, a reset, a reminder of what’s true and good. And available.
I spent some time in Portland recently. When I go to Portland, I know to bring my rain boots. One day as I was walking, it felt like there was a pebble stuck to the bottom of my shoe, so I sort of unconsciously tried to scrape it off by dragging my foot on the pavement. I didn’t look down, didn’t inspect my boot, I just kept walking. Later, I noticed it again and did the exact same thing. On autopilot, I kept moving.
A few days later, I was puddle stomping with my three-year-old grandson, Brooks. Standing ankle-deep in the puddle, I realized that my boots didn’t feel as waterproof as I once believed them to be. I could feel my wet feet inside my boots. I felt a little confused; betrayed.
Later, I took my boots off and finally turned them over and saw that they both were completely disintegrated—from toe to heel. Gone. Like I’d been wading in acid. How long they’d been like that, I have no idea.
I hadn’t checked my soles.
I quickly did the math in my head. I recalled that I’d purchased these high-quality rainboots right before my two+ month Italian adventure with my cousin Amaya, nearly ten years ago.
I showed my boots to Brooks and told him how much I loved these boots, that these boots had carried me all over the world. But it was time to kiss them goodbye. And that’s what I did. He smiled as he watched his Gaga place her lips on the soft leather right before she put them in the trash bin.
You’ve seen the Samuel L. Jackson, “What’s in your wallet?” commercial? I can replace wallet with soul, here. I hadn’t checked the soles on my boots, I just kept walking, assuming they were serving me.
I can’t know the life of the woman on the path. But I know what I saw—and felt. I can make some assumptions. My assumptions point to a gracious, kind, humble, present life. One that maybe lives by the “Garbage in, garbage out” standard.
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.”—Luke 6:45
“What’s going on in the inside shows on the outside.”—Earl Nightingale
You can run but you can’t hide what’s inside.
“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.”– Luke 8:17
“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.”—Bob Proctor
If I cross paths with you, I hope my impact on you makes you lighter, freer. I hope you feel unburdened, clearer, more present, and peaceful. That you find your smile. And that inside or outside, you put on your dancing boots and dance your fanny off—like no one or just one is watching.