The House of Our Souls

[I wrote these words last February on a day away in solitude for prayer and study.]

I sit in this small prayer house in the winter cold. Because the main house at this retreat center is vacant for the week, I was offered the chance to stay in the main house for the day. As I went into the main house to get the key to the prayer house, I saw just how many rooms were inside; so much to explore and see.

But my choice is to sit in this small physical house. Here in this limited space I want to talk with God about the interior spaces of my soul – a large house with many rooms to explore and see. Too often I range through large spaces exterior to me, but fail to range through the deeper and cavernous spaces interior to me.

The houses we live in physically, we attend to through cleaning, upkeep, decorating, and remodeling. Some of these activities are regular.  We do our Saturday morning chores: vacuuming the carpet, mopping the kitchen floor, wiping down showers and bathtubs. Or we organize things to come into our houses: school papers from the children; mail sorted into bills, letters, or junk mail; shoes, coats, and hats put away in closets. Other activities we attend to happen as needed or according to schedule. We redecorate a living from with new furniture or fresh paint. We remodel a part of our house: finishing out a basement or adding on a family room to the rear of the house.

How much more must we attend to the interior house that is our soul? What regular activities must we do – the interior cleaning and organizing? What demands attention or requires planning – the interior redecorating or remodeling?

And so, I sit facing a window that looks out upon barren tree branches and a three-day-old blanket of snow. I look out through the window with my physical eyes, while, with my spiritual eyes, I look into the window to my soul. What will I find?

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