I could feel my soul beginning to squirm. I place no judgement on this. I’m just noticing.
I was in New York City for three days for a denominational task force meeting. I arrived Tuesday around noon and spent 10 blessed hours with sisters in ministry I hardly ever get to see. One of them, God bless her, was my constant companion. She and I went to and fro together the entire play time.
The Tuesday hours were blessed because they were nourishing. Rain poured down from the NYC sky, moistening the concrete jungle. Folk seemed unphased as they walked or scurried along. Life goes on.
Likewise, the rain of sisterhood enriched four of us. We sisters closed down a restaurant over our extended lunch. We were the dining guests about which the staff sighs. We could see that the restaurant was empty, save us; and we were not oblivious to the servers’ moderate-yet-observable hovering. Yet, we lingered. The Lebanese food was a mutil-sensory delight. Appetizers easily flowed into entrees, into desert. The moment was ours and we savored it, the food and each other.
I was glad for it. This was my first time in New York, and I wanted to embrace the place, time and opportunities before my work commenced on Wednesday.
Following lunch my traveling partner graced me with a tour of the City. So many sights; so many sounds; so many scents; so many people. There was, of course, so much traffic. Vehicles were so close to one another, and flippantly invaded one another’s space so often I could feel their presence surrounding me. Welcome to New York, the most densely populated city in the country!
As we sat in traffic and occasionally drove I could feel my soul beginning to twitch. I am a person highly sensitive to my environment. I tend to take in what I experience and bring it deep inside myself for processing. When there is an imbalance between ingestion and reflection, it’s not good. The twitching and squirming activate.
Is it really not good? Physically my stomach tells me that all is not well. But is something bad?
This twitching, this squirming in my soul…I used to read it as a negative sign. It signaled, I believed, that I’m burning out, doing too much. Considering the frequency of these feelings, I had begun to fear that somehow I was losing my ability to cope with life — this glorious life that God granted me to live. I love to live and live fully. What would not being able to cope with the legion of stimuli mean for me? Daunting thought.
I’ve come to learn on this trip, though, that the twitching is neither positive nor negative. Rather it just is. The sensation is my soul’s health and confidence, speaking up for herself and asking for what she needs. Care, attention, awareness of her — things that all living things require.
You must tend to me, she says. Twitch. Squirm. We need time to sort out what has been brought in.
My soul does not shout, neither does she demand. She simply cares for herself, which is a newly developed skill. Now that she knows that she can, should, and must do this, she does regularly. Hence the frequency of the twitching and squirming. The whole of me is grateful and benefits from the wellness.
Next to me in the driver’s seat, my friend displayed comfort. “Over here is…over there is…” she pointed out. “What is up with all this traffic?” she muses calmly. She is used to this. Her laid back demeanor assured me that all is well.
Deep breath in, deep exhale out. I hear and feel you, I say. It is well, O my soul.
She quiets. Even that is care enough…for now.