I’m currently reading a fascinating book called Soul Friends by Stephen Cope. It’s about the power of human friendships and connection. In the beginning of the book, Cope suggests making a list of people you consider to be “soul friends” (i.e., friends who have significantly impacted your life) and taking special time to reflect on how they have transformed you.
A very interesting concept, indeed.
I have a “soul friend” named Carrie who has made a profound impact on me. One of the many things I admire about her is that she hosts a monthly gathering of her own "tribe members," something that (interestingly enough) she calls “soul night.” On these nights, she invites her people to come as they are—no need to put on a front or a trendy outfit or even makeup. Just come on over, she says (whether her house is tidy or not) and bring food and wine and your kids and your stories and just hang out. Come enjoy safe, encouraging, judgment-free companionship and conversation. Come feed your soul.
If only there were more Carries in the world.
Because if you’re like me, "soul night" doesn’t work exactly like this. In fact, the thought of it immediately puts me into a frenzied, event-planning mode. A "soul night" at my house wouldn't be so simple.
I can picture it now.
First, I would stress over the condition of my house and vacuum until I couldn't see straight. And as I was vacuuming, I would scream at my kids for every messy act they’ve ever committed at home (shoes on the stairs, socks on the floor, toys left out, and crumbs in the kitchen leftover from their afternoon snack, to name a few). After that, I'd second-guess the menu until I no longer even wanted to try and make or buy anything, and then I'd worry about what I’m going to wear and the fact that I need to have my hair cut and colored and my nails done. Oh, and when I'd look in my cabinets, I'd hate what I see. Why didn’t I buy those cool serving pieces that I saw in that trendy home décor magazine awhile back? Nothing would be quite good enough. Go figure.
I need to learn to execute Carrie’s version of soul night. To just relax. Let it all hang out. Put on my glasses and my slippers. Use paper plates and Solo cups if I want to. Throw the food on the table any way I can get it there. And focus on the people around me and my relationships with them. Because in the end, that’s what it’s really about: soul friends—the people in your life that don’t care what you’re wearing or how you look or how much money you have (or don’t have) or what you food you serve or how you present it to them. They care about you. They care about what you have to say. They care about what you’re going through. And how they can help. And you feel the same way about them. These are the friends that truly make life worth living. These are what I would call "soul friends."
So reach out to your soul friends and plan a “soul night” with them very soon.
Because we all need a soul night. It’s just… good for the soul.