“If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies,” wrote an unknown author, echoing the cry of many whose value in society seems to be based on others ‘seeing’ them through the lens of financial status, ability, weight, skin colour, age, political belief, gender, sexuality etc. rather than ‘seeing them’ through the lens of the soul.
Admittedly, there is darkness in this world; there is darkness in situations that personally envelope people in a shroud of negativity; and for many Christians around the world at this time, there is darkness in the season of Lent which invites sombre reflection and “giving up” some thing.
While I find that Lent has its place in the circle of life – in its reminder that not everything in the world (or in people’s lives) is happy or cheery or going well – and that just as there are seasons of weather so too are there seasons of the soul, I choose to observe the season of Lent in a different way than do many.
Rather than ‘give up’ chocolate (or desserts or Facebook or Pinterest or whatever), I choose to ‘let-in’ light to see souls. I choose to be involved in holy, life-affirming, soul-refreshing and hope-filled experiences by speaking and writing words of encouragement, appreciation and thanksgiving to (and for) … those who are trying … those who are taking risks … those who are speaking up and speaking out … those who are surviving (and even thriving) in spite of personal difficulties … those who are working hard as parents, volunteers, students, employees, employers.
What a different world we could have if, instead of talking negatively, criticizing, nagging, finding fault with, putting others down (not to mention ourselves), we talked about blessings and spoke about the goodness that ‘is’.
For there *are* blessings.
There *is* goodness in the world.
And in us.
Perhaps if these were the focus, it might be easier to see people as souls. It might be easier able to relate to ‘the other’ as a person of worth rather than ignore, pity, judge, bully or hate. And it might be easier to see beauty … like this sweet daffodil poking through the snow this time last year when a snowstorm brought unexpected surprises to our back yard.
No, I am not “giving up” something for Lent.
I am on the lookout for souls.