I picked up my Soul today from the collision shop where it has been for the last two weeks – see my posts on that saga at https://normsmilfordblog.com/2015/05/27/dont-crash-your-kia/ and https://normsmilfordblog.com/2015/05/04/repairing-a-ding-to-the-soul/ .
As I was driving back with it the little phrases, “getting my soul back” and “taking my soul back” kept playing out in my head; and, sort of like the post about a ding to my Soul, I started thinking more about how some things in life can hold your soul hostage or steal your soul, and a how you might get it back. Many of us (and I was certainly in this group a few years back) “sell our souls” to the jobs that we are in at the time. We do it because we think it is the right thing to do at the time; either for our families (or so we tell ourselves) or just for reasons of ego (the most honest answer to why).
There have been all sorts of stories and movies about people selling their souls to the Devil for some sort of power or reward here on earth. Although cute and great script fodder for movies, it is not so much the Devil that we deal with when we sell out our souls; it is ourselves. We make conscience decisions on our priorities at any point in our lives; sometimes for all of the wrong reasons. That took me back to the dictionary definition of the soul – “a person’s deeply felt moral and emotional nature.” There are other definitions, some to do with religious beliefs and others much more prosaic; but, I think the deeply held moral nature part of the definition above is what I think of when I think of the word soul. What comes to your mind when you think about your own soul?
As I contemplated my own thoughts on that topic I realized how much of my own soul I have been able to recapture control of just by getting out of the corporate rat race and into a business that is more my own. Of course one is not totally free of potential compromises of the soul as long as he works for someone else. Even those who are totally self-employed may compromise their soul in pursuit of some big sale or “win” in whatever they are pursuing. Later, with time and calm to reflect on their actions, they may regret their decisions and the sell-put of their souls.
Many professional athletes now regret how they sold put their souls and their bodies to the sports that they so loved at the time. Many are now dealing with the long-term effects of the injuries and concussions that they were told to ‘shake it off” at the time. It is sad to see so many crippled athletes or those with the effects of dementia from multiple concussions. It’s good that the various levels of sport are starting to deal with those issues.
Some very successful businessmen come to regret the things that they didn’t do with their families and others while they were pursuing success in business – they sold their souls to the offer from the Devil for the next promotion. This is perhaps the most common type of compromise to peoples souls.
Politicians often sell their souls (and many would say their votes) to the highest bidders, but it is their addiction to the power that comes with their offices that is the real corrupter. Success in business or politics can be a powerful intoxicant. The old saying goes that “money corrupts, but power corrupts completely.”
Sometimes the allure that causes us to compromise out souls is found in pleasure – the pleasure brought by alcohol or drugs. Once either of those two gets a grip on our souls it is a real tough battle to get your soul back; just ask any recovering alcoholic or drug addict. Sex is sometimes the addictive agent in people’s lives and not always sex that is appropriate in our society.
The common thread in all of these examples is someone who temporarily loses site of what is really important in life because they are bedazzled by something temporary that looks too good to be denied – success in business or sports or life in general. The success itself in not bad, it’s the compromise that one may be tempted, or forced, to make with one’s moral character to achieve that success that is the issue. The real “Devil” is in those details. It could be as simple as “just look the other way”, or as involved as complicity in something that you know is wrong. Recently we’ve seen stories of many doctors who have been indicted for various fraud schemes, some involving actually performing test s or procedures on patients that weren’t needed, so that they could bill for more. Does anyone really believe that they unwittingly did that? They sold their souls to the Devil of big money.
It’s probably a good exercise every now and then to sit back and think about the decision that you’ve been making in your own life. How many of them caused you to compromise your soul? How can you make that right? What do you need to do to take back your soul? Sometimes what you did make have wronged others, but many times it may just involve things that only you will ever know was wrong – usually those or things that you didn’t do when you know that you should have. For any and all cases you need to get right in two places – with God and with yourself. Sometimes if you take care of the first the second will become OK, too. Getting right with God is always a humbling experience, consisting of admitting that you were (did) wrong and asking for forgiveness. After you’ve done that part the rest should be easy. You’ll be how much easier it is to ask someone here in earth for forgiveness, once you are at peace with God.
So, take your soul back, too. Get your head and your priorities right. Get right with God and get on with life. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much better life is if you are back in control of your soul. In the meantime, have a great weekend. Rather than contemplating your belly button, take a long look at your soul. Does it have some dings on it that you need to fix?