You are breathing. And now you are noticing itself. In and out…in and out. It has been constant. Happening to you all day. Have you noticed? Perhaps if you have had trouble with your breathing, you have, but if you are a healthy, active individual without asthma, you probably haven’t noticed. That’s okay. In fact, it is the most natural thing in the world. I mean, you’ve been doing it all your life; why not forget about it? Or not pay attention to it? It will keep on happening, right?
Someday you will stop breathing. All of us do. We came into this world on our first breaths and we leave it with our last. We are, in some senses, leaves on the wind. We abide in our breaths, in the constant in and out of our lungs, our lives. I hope that that day when your breathing stops is not today or even close for you. I hope that day comes when you are full of years and about to be gathered unto your people. When your life, when your breathe, has been breathed out completely in the projects and the energies of your life.
What happens between now and then? How will life move in and out of us? Will we forget that we are breathing, that we are fragile yet powerful? We are capable of great and terrible things. Will we use our remaining breaths for the projects of love, justice and grace? Or will we deny the name of God we are continually saying? The holy and mysterious name of God, the tetragrammaton, in Hebrew sounds like breathing, and some rabbis say it is unpronounceable for this reason. In every breath, we are repeating God’s name. When we are born, we come into the world saying it. When we die, we leave it when we no longer have the strength to say it. What are we doing with our breaths?
Today, may we learn to breathe. May we learn to slow down and notice that God is here, with us and with all people, about to break through our forgetfulness. May we learn to breath as if every breath was our last, deeply and completely. With all the hope and the love we can muster. And may all our actions, all our thoughts, and all our words reflect the breath of God that is moving through us.
Post Scripta: If you have a few minutes, watch this video. It was the inspiration for this post and is quite devotional.