I’m back in front of my keyboard tonight, sweaty and a little sore, but happy. I've been helping my son and his family move into a new house, hefting the boxes that must be toted through our Texas heat. We bolted together IKEA furniture in his dining room that's covered with hand-scraped hardwood floors, underneath high vaulted ceilings, cooled by booming AC.
But amid all of that change — a closer address to us, a vast backyard on a hill, the mysteries of 5.1 built-in stereo wiring and the charm of a private deck right off their master suite — I looked at him and saw something that didn’t change. His address, his personality, his body, they all changed. But there’s one part of any of us that remains the same. It’s our soul, the true self and the part of us that witnesses all the changes.
In order to have an awareness of a soul, there must be change for it to observe. My son’s new house for his family. The length of his hair, along with the banking he does for a career. The happy chatter of his little 4-year-old, the humming buzz of his wife’s family all come to visit and help with the moving. None of that was the same seven years ago, and especially not seven years earlier. Once you have a life that builds its legacy of changes, you lay claim to a soul.
Personality does change, but a soul keeps you grounded. Like the 3000 user, the IT pro who’s had a dozen chances to change in their career by now. They have a machine with an old soul — a quality that I’d aspire to in my youth, the old hinting at meaning, gravity and certainty.
If it’s possible to connect with that soul, we do it by listening to the sound of our spirit. Was it really so different to back a van down Nick’s new driveway, my Caravan loaded up with his boxes, than when he was 19 and moving into his first apartment? Was it so different to help him help himself this time, with a wife and two small boys back at his old house, packing up to follow him a short drive away?
I felt the same spirit in me as I did 19 summers ago, leading him along on a nine-state baseball tour, doing all I could to kindle my hope that he was happy. It was the final summer before the NewsWire started to tell the stories of 3000 users, tracing the outlines of MPE's soul. This summer, helping Nick, it was easier to see his happiness. I heard a voice within me, observing the happiness on his face. It was the look of accomplishment I probably saw. His, and maybe mine, too.
The community of 3000 users already has accomplished so much. Nearly all of them have worked with MPE for more than 20 years. No matter what else they choose next in their career, it’s MPE that remains in their soul.