I am a chronic radio-listener. I’m the kind of person who loves talk radio in the morning despite how raunchy and crass it can be. In some ways, it makes me feel more normal. I can’t say that it’s edifying or that it makes me a better person, but…”it is what it is.” I also can’t complain about the radio too much because be it Spotify radio or the ACTUAL radio (you know, the one with dials and static and ads that businesses pay for) — I am always finding new tunes. Thanks, 21st century!
My latest radio treasure is the song “Cheerleader” by OMI. Despite the mildly irritating and twisted lyric (“Do I make you feel like cheating?”), this song makes it feel like it’s summer and we should all be hip-swinging in grass skirts with coconut bras. It’s euphoric.
Ironically, this song pairs well with another medium that I have been dabbling in again. I received the book “Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You” as a Christmas gift last year from a dear friend. Well, I finally cracked the book and it’s got me thinking a lot about how wonderful and horrifying humanity is. Author John Ortberg writes,
“We speak of the soul as a source of strength and yet we speak of it as if it is fragile. Something about the soul always seems to be at risk. A soul is something that can be lost or sold.”
A scary thought for me, and a scary thought for us all as we live each and every day surrounded by corruption. Our souls — assuming we all believe in them — are continuous things that can’t exactly be pin-pointed or dissected. There is not always a rhyme or reason for how our souls operate (okay maybe I’m talking about emotions?!). Bottom line: souls are complex. But they are a gift regardless.
Where things got real for me in these first few chapters was where Ortberg says that “if your soul is healthy, no external circumstance can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life.”
In other words, stop looking to stuff outside of your physical person to bring you to the ultimate state of satisfaction. It just isn’t happening.
As a person who believes in God, a supreme knower and actor and beholder of this world, how do I view souls as subject to him? And am I subject as a created being to my soul, or to this God? What is the relationship? It got a little too intense, too quick. My mind can be a crazy place, with a few too many rabbit trails.
Then I had a little breakthrough. I believe that God is in me, and that my soul is but a small fraction of what God is and how he makes his marks on the world. He speaks to me through my soul. I’m not perfect, but I think recognizing that your soul isn’t just your conscience or your ability to assess people’s character, or your professional drive in life is key. It’s something deeper than all of that. When you realize the depth and value of your soul (when it is healthy), the circumstances around you won’t necessarily be as tumultuous. And the successes won’t matter as much because you understand that life will go on past you, and it’s both sad and comforting. I believe this.
When and only when your soul get the exercise and nourishment it needs will you and I be able to be clear-headed about the wind and storms that surround us. We’ll be centered. We’ll be anchored. THAT is what the soul is. The realization that you’re more than the skin and bones you live in, that you are more than the emotions you experience from moment to moment, and you are more than what has ever happened to you.
The same friend who gave me this book also consoled me years ago when I was going through a serious roller coaster of emotions and dilemmas. Others may have seen her response as cold and kurt — but I saw it as loving and filled with truth. She said,
“Kaia. It’s going to be over soon. It’s not always going to feel this way.”
She was reminding me of my soulfulness. The part of me that lives through all of the highs and lows. The gift. I can pull in close and hear the whispers from my soul quite often now: “Kaia, it’s not always going to feel this way.”
What on earth does Cheerleader have to do with souls, then? Well, if you think about these lyrics less in terms of a woman fulfilling the man who sings the song, and more in the context of a larger than life kind of cheerleader, then things start to fall into place.
Sing this sweet lullaby to your soul, your cheerleader sometime soon.
When I need motivation
My one solution is my queen
‘Cause she stay strong, oh yeah
She is always in my corner
Right there when I want her
Oh! I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her
P.S. I would highly recommend the pictured Chai Cola.