This picture is from Estaticist’s photostream and is from Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island called Pause for Reflection.
Sam Wells refers to the way sherpas in the Himalayas will suddenly stop their climbing, put down their equipment and rest – as if waiting for shomething or somebody. This causes great consternation to westerners. “Why do you do that?” The sherpas’ reply is “We have travelled a long way; we are waiting for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”
This seems to represent an essential spiritual discipline – and we westerners need to learn that though we have moved on so fast, and been through so much change, we haven’t always given our souls time to catch up. It is the same principle as the sabbath – a regular time, once a week for us to catch up with ourselves. And for the same reason, we need family holidays and celebrations to allow ourselves to catch up with one another and to realise that we have missed each other in all the busyness.
Sometimes though, our soul is never going to catch up with us. We can wait until the snow melts, but our soul is never going to find us. Being lost like that signals the need for us to retreat – with retreat being another essential spiritual discipline, Retreating far enough helps us regain soul and and the location of what we value most. The story of the Prodigal Son is the classic tale of the retreat of a man who finds all that he ever wanted and all that he ever needed.