If you live in North America, the odds are good you've heard of both the Horse Whisperer and the Dog Whisperer. They are both known for their unique way of masterfully and gracefully (and quietly) communicating with and calming the animals they work with. They have a special way that they understand and relate to the animals. Even without words, they can make themselves understood. And despite lack of verbal communication from the animal, these gifted trainers seem to understand what is going on with each individual animal.
Different from, but similar to, these trainers, I believe, are soul whisperers. I think soul whisperers are people who have an inherent and unique sense of understanding of and connection to the human soul. They may be different for different people. But these soul whisperers are able to relate to and understand people, often without words, in a way that is more profound than the average Joe (or Josie, as the case may be).
I had the privilege of talking with one this morning. I am fortunate to hold a couple of soul whisperers as intimate friends. Their simple presence has a way of unlocking emotions and breaking down walls that I keep at bay from many people. And they don't even have to try. There is such a profound sense of safety and peace when you are I am with them, that one I can't help but feel comfortable revealing the most intimate and vulnerable parts of themselves myself.
I don't know how many of these people there actually are in the world. I have only known a handful. Though there have to be many more. These are patient people who hold silence without any hesitation, that's actually a starting place, rather than a default location for them. They sit and listen. And even without words, they seem to see my soul. They know me. Deeply, intimately, even if it's only once in a blue moon that we speak, it makes no difference, because the connection is made so easily, so effortlessly, that it can happen any time and any where. And it's not scary. It can be, don't get me wrong, being so vulnerable can be intensely frightening, but once you've revealed yourself to a soul whisperer, you learn that they won't take advantage of your confidences. They won't hold your sins against you or judge your most irrational quirks. And so you can feel free to be fully yourself.
I remember the first time I "exposed" myself to a soul whisperer. I was in seminary and taking an art class during my last semester. I shared about some of what I had done (without actually showing any of my work) and this friend asked to see my work. Hesitantly, I pulled it out. And he was appreciative, both of the art and of my sharing it with him, yet the whole time I felt naked. Literally naked. Like I was sitting there completely exposed in my birthday suit. Though I wasn't. But there was that level of vulnerability in what I was sharing. It may seem silly, it was just art after all, but for me it was much more profound than that. It was the first time I had really bared a part of myself that wasn't spoken emotion but could possibly reveal so much more of who I was than simple words. And he was gracious and gentle and encouraging--just as a soul whisperer should be. I was safe. And from that I learned that I would be safe in the future as well.
The soul whisperers I know are individuals others clamor to be around. Not in a popularity sense, but in an I-need-to-be-known-and-loved sense. People long for connection (all of us do) and these soul whisperers can offer that so easily that people REALLY want to be around them, if only for a short time. They can easily get burnt out and used up as most people beg to receive from them, rarely thinking of what the soul whisperer might need for his or her own soul in return.
I'm not sure I have an end point, per say, for this point, only a lot of gratitude for the soul whisperers in my life and particularly for A who shared so much time with me this morning. I am blessed to have her in my life!