How Old Is Your Soul?
I was 11 when someone told me I was an “old soul.” I didn’t take is as a compliment until my mom smiled proudly and affirmed the comment. On the way home I asked her, “What does it mean to be an old soul? Is it because I like old music?” People were always impressed when I sang along to the James Taylor songs my dad played on his guitar. I’d been complimented on my musical knowledge but they never called me old. She laughed and explained that an old soul meant I was wise beyond my years, I liked it but still didn’t fully understand the compliment.
“How old is your soul?”
She told me that we didn’t really know the age of anyone’s soul, but we based the age on insight and wisdom. Those who seemed more evolved and empathetic were considered old, meaning they had lived many lives and experienced mental and spiritual clarity. She told me the ability to connect and understand people is associated with having an old soul.
“So what about new souls?”
She pondered this for a while then told me that she’d never really thought about it but of course if there were old souls, new souls existed as well. She hadn’t thought of this, but it was all I could think of for the rest of the day. How old is my soul and how many lives did it take to get here?
I will be completely honest in sharing my weaknesses with you.
While I do not partake in late night drinking and dialing, I do participate in sober social media-ing, and I’m here to tell you the latter can be far more detrimental. A drunk dial can be dismissed or explained by intoxication while my overtired ridiculously emotional ranting is pretty mysterious.
I scroll through social media all day choosing love over anger and deciding it is beneath me to fight or educate by force, the internet trolls who plague my newsfeed. I’m proud of my restraint as I unfriend racists and those who support them, but after 10pm something happens to me. A strange phenomenon occurs which could only be explained as Riot Brain. Riot Brain has no pace, it does not stall for reason. Senseless memes which elicited only an eye roll hours before have me seething; typing into my keyboard violently. I become offended and emboldened all at once. How dare they! Don’t they know I am awake and sensitive and willing to engage in all manner of hostile liberal snowflakery and rage?
Yes, we should make every attempt to see the other side,
but I find myself straining when the other side has opinions at the expense of others. The opposite of Black Lives Matter is not All Lives Matter. The opposite is, Black Lives Do Not Matter. Daily injustices and brutality make it difficult to see this perspective. When someone defends a rapist citing that “it was a long time ago” I think of the victim and how many years that person suffered in silence. Those years were only consequence free for the perpetrator, the victim carried that weight. I struggle to find common ground with these individuals. I’m incensed when mothers who have to bury their children are called libtards and crisis actors because they want reform to protect their remaining kids. I buried a baby and I cannot imagine enduring that grief while undergoing media and public scrutiny.
While I can usually see the other side, but I cannot identify with it.
It’s easy to dismiss these hateful individuals as evil but I had a thought the other day. Maybe I am expecting too much of the world. Is it possible these men and women are just new souls? If compassion and empathy are indicative of an old soul, maybe ignorance and prejudice are the marks of a new one. These new souls are not inherently mean, but simply inexperienced. Hate is bred from fear and fear comes from the unknown. These people don’t know because they are new, their brand-new souls have growing and maturing to do. It is up to the older souls to be patient with these delicate babies and lead them forward when they are ready to learn.
Maybe this isn’t the life all souls reach maturity.
It isn’t up to me to correct every injustice I see or feel. If old souls embody forgiveness and humility, perhaps my soul is not as old as I imagined. I am still maturing, still learning, still becoming the old soul I aspire to someday be. Until I can pause my Riot Brain and learn to tolerate the discomfort of differences, I am a work in progress.
Today I will focus on love and understanding for souls at every age.