Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tending the Soul

A friend persuaded me to open a “facebook” page a couple of months ago. I even managed to track down a fairly decent photo for the page to replace the androgynous grey image in the photo box. It allows me to maintain some form of connection with people. I like keeping an auntie’s eye on my two nieces who seem to post a million pouting poses of themselves and their friends every day. Oh, the exuberance and the vanity of the young!

There seems to be a lot of applications and programmes to play with too. I kind of drowned for a while in a half dozen word puzzles, and now I am spending my time sending and receiving plants for a cyber-garden. Occasionally I have to wield a cyber rake to get rid of my cyber leaves, or feed a cyber bone to a cyber dog that seems to have found a way under the cyber fence that no doubt needs a few cyber nails to repair it!

As I send out plants I am apparently saving square feet of the rainforest – the real rainforest, not the cyber one!

Underneath the green space of my garden there are some interesting statistics that tell me not just who of my cyber pals have contributed most of the plants, but also who else, apart from me is raking up the cyber leaves and feeding the cyber dog in my garden.

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, that I wish that in real someone would come into my real garden. There are no leaves the rake up, but the doggy do left by the non-cyber-dog that makes free with my lawn – it would be nice if someone scooped it up!

I bought a book at the weekend. “Finding Our Way Again” by Brian MacLaren. He talks about the need to tend the soul. Left unattended, our soul, he suggests, “will become a stale room, an obnoxious child, a vacant lot filled with thorns, weeds, broken bottles, raggedy grocery bags and dog droppings.” What exercise does for our bodies, and study does for our minds, we need something for our souls. The book then launches into spiritual disciplines.

I like the idea that I am not called upon, alone, to tend my soul – although the chief responsibility lies with me. Just as I have cyber friends popping in to chase the cyber rabbits out of my cyber garden, I also have friends who join with me in tending my soul. We are all called upon to tend each others souls – to keep, not just an auntie’s eye on the nieces, but speaking a brother’s word of encouragement, and a sister’s gentle reproving into the family that God has birthed us into.

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