We sat down to eat recently with my family here in Haiti as my roommate’s 2-year-old daughter, Bevycka ran in the room saying “M’ap priye, M’ap priye!” “You’re going to pray for us before we eat, Bevycka?” I confirmed. “Wi!” She said excitedly. It was clear that she was feeling moved by the Spirit on that night. She started off her prayer with the sign of the cross as her aunts had so carefully taught her, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… My soul… just pooped its pants.” Her dad yelled “Amen!” And all the rest of us echoed, “Amen!” before bursting into laughter. It was clear that Bevycka had every good intention of asking a blessing for our meal, but her train of thought changed course dramatically shortly after taking off and she felt she had a more important announcement to make. And yet, in her innocence, Bevycka had expressed a kind of beautifully gross perception of the human soul that I am discovering more and more to be apt in describing those moments in life where our soul is taken by surprise and all of the emotion and life that it was full of at the moment simply can’t be held in. It has no idea what it is experiencing and has no control over how it reacts. Poets may say it many ways. Our soul bursts. Our soul floods. Our soul tumbles into a euphoric elysium. But to Bevycka, our soul just poops its pants.
And ever since she said that, I’ve found extra joy in life as I search for these moments to acknowledge knowing that when they happen, remembering Bevycka’s words will bring a slightly wider smile to my face.
In fact, my soul has been quite incontinent lately due to some new friends made that my soul has known for a long time. I believe everyone has those moments where you encounter someone who is unknown to your physical self, but somewhere in your soul, you know that it’s not really the first time you’ve met, it’s as if you’ve always been close. And lately I’ve had a string of these encounters that each time they happen, my soul can’t help itself. My mouth says “Hi, I’m Lee. It’s great to meet you,” and extends a cordial handshake. But my soul freaks out and screams, “It’s YOU! I’ve been waiting for you for so long! Let’s go get a drink and catch up on old times,” and grabs the other soul ferociously embracing them like a prodigal son. My friends and I have been having this conversation a lot lately about how wonderful it is to have just met someone and feel like it was all just meant to be. Not in that silly romantic kind of we-were-born-to-be-together kind of way, but in that greater spiritual unity sort of way where two supposed strangers can realize that there’s something greater knitting them together beyond what their current physical experience suggests. And in those moments when you realize that, you just gotta admit shamelessly that your soul just pooped its pants. Although it almost comes as something existentially expected, it still overwhelms you and pushes your soul to it’s brink of fullness.
It’s a similar experience when Mother Nature takes me by surprise and slaps me in the face with her beauty. There’s a ridge of cliffs in my area here in Haiti, in a zone called Losier that sit well beyond the beaten path far enough away from the community’s main services that not many people live there and the ground is rocky enough that not much farming can be done. But every once in a while it’s worth taking the hike out to them to remind my soul why it still dwells here, in this body and this body in this place on the earth. Even though I’ve been there plenty of times, every new time I go and take that final step over the rocks and through the yucca plants and get hit by the extraordinary view and the steady, invigorating breeze, my soul still poops its pants. Straight ahead you can look out over the city of Jacmel and the turquoise blue bay that the city sits on fading out to a brilliant aquamarine as it expands into the Caribbean Sea. Down in the valley to the south lays Bassin Bleu with its delicate series of waterfalls and crystal clear pools. Underneath the sound of the breeze you can hear the waterfalls rushing and waves of the sea crashing. Running into the sea between Bassin Blue and the city coming from between the hills to the north is the Gooseline River snaking its way through the sandy earth and spotted palm trees. And off to the east beyond all of this are the many more mountains of the country, layered one behind another until they disappear into the distance, some reaching high up into the clouds where you can’t see their peaks. I’ve mentioned, somewhat jokingly, before about how I would love to build a spiritual retreat center up here on these cliffs as a place for people to come pray, meditate, re-center, rejuvenate, and be inspired. It would be perfect (and there’s even land for sale). And I think that this is exactly what the slogan of just a place should be: Losier Spiritual Retreat Center – Come Stay with Us and Let Your Soul Poop Its Pants.
And as I’ve been thinking of writing the blog post, I was thinking back to times that my soul has possibly pooped its pants in the past, before Bevycka ever pointed out that it was possible. One moment that immediately popped into my head, and my readers will have to excuse me for being an art nerd here, was at the Des Moines Art Center one day and it was the first time that I had come upon the painting by Jean Dubuffet entitled Villager with Close Cropped Hair. I’ve seen a lot of incredible art in my days, and there are plenty of pieces that have had an impact on me when seeing them in person for the first time, but this one made my soul erupt. I’d studied Dubuffet for a long time, seen his pieces in books and online, and even seen some of his other later works in person at other museums, but this one was so viscerally raw and powerful that it absolutely devoured me when I looked at it. My soul completely and shamelessly pooped its pants, and it felt good. Real good. I was going to include a link to the painting but it wouldn’t be the same. If you want to see what I’m talking about, call the Des Moines Arts Center and ask if they have it on display currently. If they do, drive there, from wherever you are, and go see it. Do your soul a favor.
So what’s my point with all of these stories? It’s not good to hold it in. It’s not healthy. We need to search for those opportunities for release and we need to embrace them as an essential part of survival in this messy world that we live in. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the spiritual process that’s happening inside our souls at those moments because we try to control it, we try to resist. But we need accept the freedom that our soul searches for in those experiences and just let it go. Sometimes we need to become more like a child, and channel the inhibition that would allow a 2-year-old to thank God for the pants pooping experiences that our souls encounter in this day to day life.
So tell me, when was the last time your soul pooped its pants? Let’s share.