Pastoral Ponderings—Of Car and Soul Care
I love the scene in The Big Bang Theory TV series in which Sheldon, the obsessive-compulsive Aspy (and a non-driver) is riding somewhere with Penny, the only “normal” of his friends we ever see, and he looks over to see the check engine light is on. Very concerned, strict rule-follower Sheldon points it out to Penny, who calmly replies, “Oh, it’s always on like that.” Jumping immediately from concerned to frantic, Sheldon has a hissy fit, and Penny just drives on.
We all know the importance of car care, and do what we can to mitigate issues, though I must confess my truck is more often like Penny’s car in terms of warning lights. We’re not always great at taking care of every little detail, but we usually keep enough gas in the car to keep it going, and usually take care of the basics like oil changes and brakes, knowing that the car quickly becomes a candidate for the junk yard if we don’t.
So would you say your car or your soul is more important? Some might say “there’s no right answer” to a question like this—but I’m not one of them! I hope the answer for us Jesus people is the more soulish one. So why then are we so often more inclined to keep up with our car maintenance than our soul maintenance? Sure, we’re usually pretty good at getting to church—but that’s more like filling up the gas tank than real “maintenance,” like oil changes, fixing brakes, tune-ups, and getting all those darn warning lights checked.
Like Penny, we too often blithely drive on in our spiritual lights, usually making sure the gas tank doesn’t run dry, but not much else. I don’t want to be that way, though with the busy-ness of like, it’s way too easy to fall into that rut. So that’s why I’m running away this week—to do my annual soul care pilgrimage to a place where I can be fed and get my spiritual oil change and tune up. We go to a place called Sandy Cove Ministries in Maryland, a place I discovered after my first deployment some fifteen years ago, in a program aptly called “Operation Oasis” supporting military families.
I’d love to hear what you do, I’d love to be able to share with others what those of you who do this regular soul care well, to share with others who might need a little help in this area. No one thing ever works well for every one, so let’s share a whole range of ideas. One of those is a weekend retreat experience called “Walk to Emmaus,” with another round coming up in October. If a weekend retreat sounds like it might be the thing for you to get a good tune up for your soul, let me know—it calls for a “sponsor” to help you along the way.
Whatever you do, make sure you take at least as good a care for your soul as you do for your car. If you could use a little help in this area, that’s a part of what we pastors do—we’re a kind of “soul mechanic,” and are always happy to help!
Keep being a blessing—with MORE than just a fill-up! Pastor Jim