Roger sat down and rubbed some tiredness from his face. Every muscle in his body felt tense. He rubbed his forehead as if somehow that would relieve the tension. He let out a deep breath. He had only caught the last words of Santa’s first point but he liked that thought, “To be fully alive!” He would need to get the notes to learn more.
“In order to hear your soul’s whisper you will need to put down the electronics. We are a culture that has become addicted to technology. There is a deep desire to be in constant contact with people that we love and even those that we don’t really care about. When was the last time that the fact that a missed Facebook post ruined your life? If the news story is worthwhile, they will play it multiple times later. Usually the later editions will have more accurate information. Who cares if you missed the first twelve hours of speculation and rumor? When someone calls, if it is important they will leave a message. Somehow that beeping or vibrating leash in your pocket has become the master and we have become its slave. Today is your day of freedom. With all of those calls and messages coming at you at the speed of sound and light, how are you supposed to hear your soul’s whisper? Leave the manacle on your desk and walk away. Yes, it will call to you.”
Several people took a moment to check their phones to make sure that the ringer was off.
“Your very being will feel like you are missing something. But it is lying to you. After a few short hours away from the masters whip you will sense your freedom. In the silence you will suddenly hear a voice speaking to you. This is your true self, the person that you were meant to be, and the one that can impact the nation. A slave that remains a slave to this world cannot change the world.
To hear your soul’s whisper you also need to build your faith. When words like “soul” come up thoughts most often turn toward religion and churches. Buildings and systems in themselves can do nothing to help you hear the whisper of your soul. However, they can provide an atmosphere that will enable you to come in contact with your faith. Believe deeply and allow the Holy Spirit’s teaching to immerse you into thinking and thoughts that are contrary to your own nature. Our own nature often leads us in ways that are not in our best interest. In faith we can grow and become more. Read the Bible, read about saints and heroes of the faith. Hear from the ancients how to live. Dig deep and invest in your future. Your soul is trying to speak to you even right now. Will you listen to that call?”
Sarah reluctantly raised her hand. She hated to interrupt but she felt overwhelmed with emotion. “Today my daughter ran away from her community service team. I don’t know when and if this trial will ever end. Coming here the past several weeks and getting to know each of you has been such a blessing and I honestly felt the faith of my childhood returning but what do I do now? I am ready to simply give up on Michelle and really give up on God. Even He can’t save her.” Sarah broke down in tears. Angie put her arms around Sarah and let her cry.
“Sarah, that actually leads me to the next tip on hearing your soul’s whisper. Don’t give up but choose to enjoy the storm. When I was in Junior High School my town was rocked by a tornado. I remember after the storm seeing the neighbor’s fence stuck in the side of my house. Across the street the attic of the old farmer’s house was now in his front yard. All up and down the street there was damage. Strangely, though what I remember most was the moments immediately after the storm. The storm had been loud, scary and uncertain. When the sirens stopped we went outside to see a clear sky with more brilliance than I had ever witnessed in my life. Nobody had power so there were no lights on anywhere. The clear night sky was beautifully arrayed with stars. My entire neighborhood survived the storm. However, we were not all the same people. The storm changed us. Suddenly it was more important to visit with the guy living next door than to watch television news. Old feuds disappeared and we actually learned the names of neighbors that we had previously only seen in passing. The storm helped us to focus on what was really important. Memories will last longer than stuff. Friends will attend your funeral, not your new car or even your home. The storm caused us to get to know each other. The people of that season and place, connected at a soul level that is almost indescribable. We all heard our soul’s whisper and were better because of it. I know that it doesn’t feel that way right now and nothing that I can say or do will help you to feel that way. I only ask you to remember this when the sirens stop blaring.”
Sarah gathered herself together. She wondered what good could come out of this situation. Her imagination pictured a trip to the morgue to confirm her daughter’s body. She wept silently at the image. As she stood looking at her daughter’s dead body she noticed a tattoo. Sarah tried to remember if Michelle really had a tattoo like that or not. Moving the sleeve of the young woman she saw clearly the words “Hope”. Sarah felt life return to her. Suddenly she realized that she was still at the Freedom club and had missed the final tip that Santa was offering.
“My final tip to hear your soul’s whisper is to become the storm. Fear often keeps us from rocking the boat. Consider though that when the boat gets rocked there is an adventure waiting to happen. Stories will be told. When my kids were small we went on a float trip on an early spring morning. We had taken countless trips but this one was memorable. Everyone got settled into the canoe. Three kids, two adults ready to experience nature and adventure. Less than ten minutes into the trip the canoe got turned sideways and dumped us all out into the cold river. After I came out of the water I looked desperately for my children. My wife was holding onto the youngest. The other two were swimming toward the shore. I went to them and ensured they were all ok. My oldest daughter had rescued her water bottle by tying it to her life jacket. The youngest gave his mother credit for saving his life and the middle child was laughing as he got to a spot where he could stand up. We all survived. Even today, many years later we still laugh about our shortest canoe trip. That day we simply enjoyed being together. If something natural does not happen and you really want to hear your soul’s whisper; become the storm. Challenge the status quo and experience the adventure. Yes, you might get hurt or worse. But you will know that you are really living according to the real you.
‘All men die, but not all men truly live,’ said William Wallace
Your soul is in color and filled with life. What are you doing living in gray and death? When you take the time to listen to your soul’s whisper you will discover more than you ever knew. You will discover the true you. This is who you were designed to be by your Creator. The world needs more people who are fully alive. Will you join us in the world of the living?”
Roger quietly left as the others cleaned up and chatted sleepily. On the way back to Gospel Rescue Mission, Roger picked up a stick and mindlessly swung it around and thought about his day. More bill collectors were calling. Soon he would have no choice but to give up the search. His heart was heavy. How would he ever learn to steer through the rest of his life without his daughter? How can he avoid all of the problems that were now a part of his life? He was already living in a homeless shelter and struggling to somehow get her bills paid off as well as his own. Throwing the stick to the ground he walked briskly home.
Darkness was creeping is as Joannie jumped the low wall at the cemetery. She was pretty sure that it was illegal to be there. But she wanted to spend the night near her mother. For the first time in years her mind was clear enough to remember where the grave was. Carefully, Joannie made her way through the monuments and stones. Along the way she avoided anything that looked life freshly dug ground. After several minutes she recognized a tree and knew right where she was and moved toward the marker that she knew was her mom’s. Joanne pulled her jacket tight around her and laid down on the wet ground, tears streaming down her face. Soon she was asleep.
Having avoided any interaction with public officials of any type Bruce and Michelle quietly made their way through a back yard that was littered with garbage. Looking up and down the street, Bruce pulled open a screen door and then pushed hard on the backdoor. Soon they were both inside. Michelle gagged a little bit at the smell. Obviously the plumbing did not work in this place. In a back corner she found some clothing that while not exactly clean nor fashionable but they were better than what she otherwise had available. Bruce moved a heavy stone to prevent anyone else from coming in that door. Moving gingerly through the house he found a mattress and laid down. While he had not really felt tired earlier he quickly fell asleep.
Michelle found a bottle of some sort of liquor. The bottle was worn but the liquid inside looked ok even though she didn’t know what it was. She took a drink and smiled. Warmth filled her insides. A great sense of freedom filled her with joy. She fell asleep laying against what must have been a bunch of couch cushions, the bottle still in her hand.
Rosie returned home. There were no lights on. She noticed a note taped to the door. Trembling as she recognized the handwriting she put the paper in her mouth as she unlocked the door and went inside. Sitting on sofa, reading the note she smiled and laid back full of excitement.