Monday, February 3, 2014

Seeing my soul

When I was a little girl, I had definite ideas of what a soul looked like. I was convinced it was like a pearly-white opalescent bubble about two inches across that resided someplace in the body, probably near the esophagus or something. Despite its fragile appearance, it had to be tough… tough enough to handle all the iniquities people do during the course of their life. Yet it was also supposed to be a thing of indescribable unearthly beauty.

Funny to peek into the imagination of a child, isn’t it?

Fast forward a few decades. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a random comment on an article in which the commenter was discussing the end of the world. I glanced with disinterest through the comment until one line arrested my vision and stopped me in my tracks. The line read, “All the populations of the world will be able to see their souls for a period of time...”


I don’t remember the context of this line, but the notion is scary. What would it be like, to see my soul? To actually see it? To see, in graphic detail, all the ugly horrible thoughts and actions I’ve had and done? All the forgotten misdeeds and nasty thoughts and snarky moments? I have a strong feeling my soul wouldn’t be pearly and opalescent.

I like to pretend I’m a pretty decent person – I haven’t robbed any jewelry stores lately – but it’s a human characteristic to ignore the bad stuff about ourselves and just remember the good. We all have thoughts, words, and deeds that are damning, but we’ll go merrily through life pretending that the things “done and left undone” don’t matter in the overall scheme of things. We’re all pretty decent people in our own eyes, right? It’s not like we’ve robbed any jewelry stores, right?

But everything is recorded on our soul. Every little transgression, every witchy thought or piece of gossip that escapes our lips, every person we ignore because we don’t want to be bothered, every insult we lob at our spouse or kids, every piece of gum wrapper we toss aside instead of using a trash can – everything, no matter how large or small – are recorded on that pure, pearly bubble. There’s no hiding from it. And that opalescent bubble gets dirtier and dirtier.

Since reading that line, the image of seeing my soul has haunted me. It’s a frightening thought. After all, what is my life but a pile of filthy rags? If I had the ability to pluck that pearly opalescent bubble out of my chest right now and look at it, how tarnished and dirty would it be? Far from being a pure and spotless thing, it would be ugly and stained with my many transgressions. In short, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.

But then I remembered something. Maybe my soul isn't terribly ugly. I remembered that every time I earnestly seek forgiveness, that ugly tarnished bubble is wiped clean and pure once more. Again and again and again. Whenever I ask, that gift is freely given. Wow. It’s like ultra strong Formula 409 – it wipes off the grease and scrubs off the stains and makes things shiny.

After all, what would our bodies be like if we never took a bath? At the end of a week we’d be pretty stinky. By the end of a month, no one would want to be in the same room with us. What would we be like if we hadn’t bathed in a year, or ten years, or for our whole life? Ewwww.

That’s how I see our souls. If we don’t “bathe” our souls in the blood of the lamb, they get dirtier and dirtier, dusty and tarnished, filthy and ugly. If we don’t “bathe” them for a week, they’re pretty stinky. By the end of a month, those pearly bubbles would be greasy and rank. By the end of a year, or ten years, or a lifetime, they’d be horrifically ugly, blackened with filth, and frankly revolting.

But that good ol’ celestial Formula 409 works every time. One squirt – one sincere and heartfelt prayer – and that opalescent bubble can shine forth once more, clean and bright.

Psalm 32:1 -- Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.


  1. A beautiful thought for today. I think I'll take a minute and get my soul cleaned for this morning right now.

  2. thank God for His mercy and grace

  3. very interesting. I will be thinking about this post for awhile!!


  4. Wow. How we forget, a simple bended knee, and a heartfelt prayer cleans the grime away. Thank God for His ultimate gift.

  5. Thank you for the wonderful description.

  6. Beautiful article!

  7. If you haven't seen this one, you may want to give it a watch. Pretty powerful words.

  8. just look in a mirror. We ARE souls.

    In the Bible, “soul” is translated from the Hebrew ne′phesh and the Greek psy·khe′. Bible usage shows the soul to be a person or an animal or the life that a person or an animal enjoys.

    Gen. 2:7: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.”

    1 Cor. 15:45: “It is even so written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”

    Souls die: Rev. 16:3: “It became blood as of a dead man, and every living soul died, yes, the things in the sea.”

    Animals are souls too: Gen. 1:20, 21, 24, 25: “God went on to say: ‘Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls* . . . ’ And God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about, which the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds, and every winged flying creature according to its kind. . . . And God went on to say: ‘Let the earth put forth living souls according to their kinds . . . ’ And God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every moving animal of the ground according to its kind.” (*In Hebrew the word here is ne′phesh. Ro reads “soul.” Some translations use the rendering “creature[s].”)

    the thought of some separate immortal soul comes from pagan religions.

    1. Then what do you call a dead body? The body and soul are united, but that which animates the body is not the body itself.

      God bless and THANK YOU, Patrice, for this beautiful post.

    2. Then what do you call a dead body? The body and soul are united, but that which animates the body is not the body itself.

      God bless and THANK YOU, Patrice, for this beautiful post.

  9. Thank you, your message was sent in answer to a prayer. You matter in this world, keep the faith.

  10. Patrice, great post! I need to clean a bit of grime myself.

    My thoughts as being a good person centers around my critters. I truly hope to be as good of person my dog thinks I am.

  11. Bravo! Well said. Thank God for the blood of the Lamb!

  12. Thank you for the reminder - God gives us much to be thankful for. His forgiveness through Jesus tops my list.

  13. Wonderful! I reposted to my FB.
    Those who bless, shall themselves be blessed!
    Thanks again Patrice!

  14. Great and much needed post. I too have often thought that. But praise God for His forgiveness and mercy. We repent and He's always ready to forgive. Obedience is better than sacrifice. He knows our heart and knows that we are human and very imperfect. I have to be on my knees every day, because I fall short every day. But we do serve an awesome God! Have an awesome week! You are so precious in His sight; and in mine. :)
    Alicia (El Shaddai Homestead)

  15. Patrice - thanks for the encouragement. This is one promise from Christ that I cherish and need to remember when my old sins rise up and condemn me.

  16. Without God's Grace we ar nothing but are like filthy rags.

  17. I love your analogy of comparing the soul to an opalescent bubble. I do have a different perspective about the "forgiveness" part.....(but also respect yours).

    I don’t think it is about “forgiveness” per say. The fact that you’ve even learned these lessons and act upon them is enough.

    I believe that we alone are the judges of our own actions. When we know better, we do better. Jesus doesn’t judge us......He is ONLY about love.

    The word “forgiveness” reminds me of the words of fear and oppression that were hammered into the people through the so called “Christian Church”.

    This verbiage was used to manipulate and control us for some 2000 years. It has been branded onto our brains and is hardly an example of Christ’s teachings in my opinion.

    It may be splitting hairs, but this is why I have a different take about the word "forgiveness..... BJ

  18. Growing up Catholic in the 40's & 50's, we were taught our soul was like a filled milk bottle. Every timed we 'sinned' some pure white milk would be spilled. Very bad people would have no milk left. After living for almost 70 years, I've learned no one is without sin. But I do believe that once we really look at our little soul bottle, we can improve ourselves. Day by day, deed by deed and thought by thought. Praying to the Almighty for strength and goodness is a fine way to start and end each day to keep us on the right path.

  19. To answer one poster here: A soul is what animates all creatures, but only humans, made in God's image, have immortal souls. I hope this does not upset some readers.

    It is true that our souls would be filthy without God's wonderful forgiveness. We all need forgiveness. This is why Jesus gave the Apostles the power to manifest His forgiveness to the end of the earth in Matthew 16:19.

  20. What a beautiful to put it. And what a good reminder of the grace and mercy offered to us. Thank you.