Pondering at Pecos:
I read one time that “the soul is a wild animal.” That thought has given me much to think about over the years that I’ve explored that metaphor.
I think the idea of a “wild animal” can conjure different images from the “savage” to the “skittish” and perhaps every point in between—and I think the soul can be seen equally as diminutive, docile, destructive and/or even demonic depending on it’s condition and provocation. One not look too far in the annals of human history to find supporting evidence for these claims.
Many people, maybe even most people, seek solace and identity for their soul. I believe this is one of the primary quests for this life. You will often hear the words; “What is the meaning of life” and “I’m figuring out what I want to be when I grow up…” I think these words are probably more euphemisms for “soul solace” and identity affirmation than they are legitimate quests. The search for acceptance and affirmation prove this true, in my opinion. When people fail to find their affirmation and identity, most will resort to some means of self-medication or they will manufacture an identity for themselves…or they will choose to self-destruct. Of course, these are broad generalizations, but I believe them to hold a lot of truth. The complexities of the soul and the psyche are the playground of God and most mortals merely stumble and fumble their way through this mysterious land. And, this is the challenge. How do we help to heal our brother and how do we help to heal ourselves?
The past few days I’ve been in classes discussing addiction and bi-polar disorders, depression, and anxiety issues. I’m certainly not clinically qualified to speak professionally about these diagnosis, but I do have ideas and an opinion.
I have done quite a bit of reading and study from a spiritual perspective that leads me back to the same point of origin over and over again. I believe the great amount of soul disorder arises from the brokenness of humanity which stems from the break of man’s fellowship with God. Also known as “original sin,” this brokenness is responsible for every malady known to mankind. Since this “break” in fellowship with God, man has been searching for some form of reconciliation for his soul or escape from it. Perhaps this is an oversimplification, but I’ve already stated this is a mysterious subject and I admit I am over my head to even think about it, much less share an opinion.
I am of the mind that programs and medical intervention can only provide a certain amount of healing and restoration for the troubled soul. I don’t mean to mitigate programs or medical treatment at all with my opinions, so I hope that isn’t inferred in the sharing of my thoughts. I simply think that these options can only take a soul so far in recovering an identity.
I mentioned earlier that the soul might be seen as a wild animal and I think this is true, but I think more accurately the “wild animal” might be more like a white-tail deer. I used to live in an area where these beautiful and docile animals were plentiful. Observing them undisturbed in their environment they were calm and graceful creatures, but the snap of a twig or the scent of a human could send them in flight bounding through thistle and brush for fear of their life. Often, during hunting season, the pattern of disturbance for these timid creatures would escalate to the point that some deer might run themselves to death by resorting to uncommon behavior resulting in their demise.
A weak metaphor perhaps, but I believe the soul can be observed in similar detail. Through the fall of man and our invariable brokenness, we realize something is wrong… the scent of something unnatural surrounds us and we live under the umbrella of stigma of many shapes, size, and color. We don’t know what to do, so we disguise who we are creating false identity upon false identity with hopes we will find one size to fit every and all expectations that others have for us. Ultimately, we fail to find security in these false identities and we tire of the endless wardrobe changes that our life demands and we resort to self-medication or fleeing for our lives…
While this scenario may not be true for everyone, I think there is an alternative for those who have experienced this sense of tiring lostness. I think we can embrace our brokenness and turn to God. He is the healer and restorer for our souls and when we embrace this reality for ourselves, we can begin to be ministers of reconciliation for our brothers and sisters who have yet to find this comforting grace.
Allowing the troubled and timid soul the safe space needed to calm its racing heart, and to listen with empathy and compassion as that soul shares its story and fears provides a place that is sacred, where the divine mystery of God mixes with the brokenness of man’s soul and psyche to create healing and wholeness. This is deep healing—eternal restoration—that medication, therapy, and programs alone cannot touch. Yes, these interventions and man made elixirs are necessary and needful, but God…only God can tame a soul.