Feeding Your Soul

I’ve been looking forward to writing on this topic for several weeks because, in my opinion, “feeding your soul” is one of the keys to finding happiness and joy in your life.  God has given us a wonderful creation to enjoy and He wants us to live life abundantly…with overflowing fullness.

Feeding your soul is not just participating in the things you enjoy, but really taking pleasure in doing those things.  Savor, indulge, relish, enjoy, drink in…feed your soul…by delighting in the things you enjoy most.

Maria feeds her soul by gardening.  She loves to get her hands dirty, to find the right mixture of soil, and to nurture her plants, flowers, and vegetables to maturity.

We’ve tried shopping for flowers together several times in our 33 years of marriage, but not with good results.  I’m an “efficient” shopper and can pick out what I want to buy in a matter of minutes.  Maria feeds her soul when she shops.

At a garden center, Maria will walk slowly looking at virtually every type of flower or plant in the store.  She loves to touch, smell, and admire the beauty and complexity of these living organisms.  Once she decides on a particular item, she will look at almost all of them on the shelf, to find the perfect one to take home.  The process can take an hour or more, and heaven forbid if she doesn’t find what she wants, because then it’s off to another store to start the entire search over again.

For me, playing golf is my favorite “soul feeding” activity.  Ten years ago, I compiled a list of “why I like golf.”  I thought it might make a good book that could become a series of “why I like…quilting, sailing, baking, fishing”…virtually every hobby that involves feeding your soul.  In compiling a list of more than 150 reasons I like golf, I appreciated the game even more and took the time to savor the little things that make golf so enjoyable to me.  Playing with buddies, enjoying a friendly wager, admiring the beauty of the course, the sounds of nature, the smell and look of a freshly cut green, again the lists goes on and on.

My ultimate soul feeding experience is going on golf trips with my buddies.  Last summer, eight of us went to Ireland, one of the best golfing destinations on the planet.  We played 17 rounds in 11 days traveling the beautiful Irish countryside from south to north enjoying some of the best courses in the world.  But these trips aren’t just about the golf, it’s the camaraderie of being with friends who share a common passion.  The food, wine, stories new and old, competition, affection…it’s 24 hours a day of feeding your soul…and I love every minute of it (unless I’m on the losing end of the bets for that day).

On our 2012 trip to Scotland, we wore kilts at Muirfield which requires formal attire to eat in the clubhouse. Muirfield is one of the oldest golf clubs in the world.

Feeding your soul is not like going to a fast food restaurant…it’s more like enjoying a seven-course meal…taking your time to appreciate not only each new food, but each and every bite.

It’s hard to really feed your soul in short time increments.  The best soul feeding activities take time: Reading a book, sewing, shopping, playing with your children or grandchildren, going to church, taking a walk, going for a bicycle ride or a run, vacations, tailgating, eating a meal with friends, playing cards, woodworking, singing in the choir, going on a picnic, hunting, hiking, going to a baseball game.  And notice that feeding your soul almost always involves action on your part.  It is a participatory activity.

When I was hospitalized a month ago for severe dehydration, I was awoken in the morning by an elderly woman playing a recording of Spanish hymns.  She was singing along loudly…and out of tune…and for a couple of minutes I was bothered by this interruption to my sleep.  But then I heard the joy in her voice and the pleasure she was taking in praising God despite whatever condition had hospitalized her.  She was feeding her soul and I enjoyed being serenaded for more than a half-hour.

Fill your lungs, close your eyes, breathe in the marvel and goodness of life, and enjoy the many blessings of having a soul…created by God.

 Medical/Personal Update: I’ve been doing a lot of “soul feeding” the past six weeks. On Saturday, my cousin-in-law from San Diego and I went to the Yankees-Twins game.  We rode double decker sightseeing buses for two days in NYC.  Last weekend, I cooked 25 pounds of pulled pork on my Big Green Egg for Dr. Emily Pomerantz’s graduation party.  Daily walks filled with thought, prayer, and thanksgiving.  Zach visiting for dinner and a sleep-over.  Lots of phone calls and even personal visits from friends in Texas, Nebraska, and California.

Now I’m planning our June 16-25 trip to Nebraska and looking forward to attending the Belmont Stakes horse race this Saturday to watch California Chrome hopefully win the Triple Crown.

And most importantly, writing The Last Train.

Feeding my soul…the best medicine of all!

Next Stop: Sleeping Together