It’s funny, I guess how the Lord gave us souls— souls that know no binding of time or certainty of space, souls that stretch from past into present, and then into forever— but wrapped them, enclosed, in our skins. The mummification of it, perhaps, to preserve and protect it, or maybe the covering of, so we have to dig for it and search for it, an earthy, buried treasure.
Souls wrapped in skins, and not just any skin at that. Skin that is solid, permeable, breakable. Skins that stretch to encompass our bodies, but how does a soul stay put inside it? I imagine it, rattling the cages of my ribs, for if it could be let out, it would soar through the sky. Sometimes, I bleed and picture it my soul, seeping through its confines- the walls of my skin.
The skins of the present demand our attention. These are the skins of the every day, of the getting up and stubbing toes while stumbling out of bed. These skins make feel what we cannot escape: exhaustion, misuse, inflexibility, and confines. Some people do amazing things with their skins- become ballerinas, football players, professional skiiers- but still, it is not an inexhaustible resource. Skins, we know, have ceilings.
These are the skins of conversation. Of words exchanged but not always remembered, of events that maybe we’ll cherish, maybe not. The skins of vocabulary and of constant change. Skins that are every day, dying and being made new.
But inside these skins, a soul. A soul stitched together not by the words of conversation, but by the power of it. A soul, which thinks and feels a thousand intricacies the skin knows not how to say, a soul that sees what the skin cannot. This soul, a garden in the land of the dying, from which blooms a flower that will not fade with time. These souls, that walk and wade through the skin’s daily living, but does so to prepare for an eternity away.
These souls, that feed the skins, that teach us love and connection. These skins, that house the souls, a temporary temple. When two hands touch, is it not the soul that feels it more than the skin? And when angry words flash, is it not the carelessness sewn into them that sears the heart? This soul this life breath of the body.
Oh, that we knew what these bodies held, and treated them accordingly. That we realized these eyes, noses, hair, and cheekbones are not made for themselves alone, but for the soul, and to provide a window for others to see into it. That words will be forgotten but the way the marked the soul will not, and that we would guard what comes out of those lips so much more carefully. That we would see the colors that make up our skins as only a glimpse of the array of colors that make up each of our souls, and know you don’t need to be black or white for your soul to shine gold.
I wonder how it will feel when my soul stops rattling and sits back for the first time; when it exhales with a sigh that shakes bone and being, because the rib cage is gone and my soul is still there, finally seen just as it is.