That's it. That's the whole post:
Go ahead. Take a deep one. In....
...Wait for it...(I can't help it, I loooove Doogie Howser. All the cool old people will get that...)
What a gift. What a blessing. What an inexplicable WONDER!
I'd like to tell you I know how it all works. And I do have a vague kind of sense of it all; a muddled up, highly inaccurate mishmash of all the stuff I've read or googled, watched on CSI or heard in school or pondered over and glazed over while trying to sort out those grotesquely mesmerizing posters in doctors' waiting rooms...
But really the miracle of it, for me, anyway, is that I do it without thinking about it. I've been unconsciously competent at it my whole life. And the few times I've been without this blessed ability, I'll remember forever. I bet it's the same for you.
I was running away from or chasing one of my cousins across Nanny and Granddad's front lawn and was taking the customary leap across Aunt Nellie and Uncle Hilton's flower border and front walk to get across to their lawn, when I crashed. I'm not clear on the details. It happened pretty fast. But the fall seemed to last forever. Isn't that just the way it goes with crashes? I must've not landed well on the other side and I fell backwards and slammed my back against the concrete wall that held back the earth and flowers from the cement path.
It didn't really hurt. Not at that moment.
But I couldn't breathe. I actually DID NOT KNOW how to breathe.
I found out later that I got the wind knocked out of me. At least that's the scientific term my grandparents gave it.
But the science of it, the why and how of it did not matter to me one bit. I just knew that breathing felt good when I could do it and I NEVER wanted to feel what it felt like to NOT be able to take a breath EVER AGAIN!
Fell out of a boat and crashed into the water that year too. My Grampie Doug pulled me back out of the pond by my easy-to-spot ginger mop, but that didn't matter. I felt no pain, only the all-encompassing need to breathe. And for a breathless, murky, hopeless eternity, I couldn't. And then I could.
I crashed my life once too. Found myself at work one night, staring out at the Halifax Harbour, four little ones at home with my husband, who also worked shifts and whom I wasn't sure I knew anymore, and suddenly I couldn't breathe. It took me 10 dizzy, panicked minutes, and the complete loss of everything I'd eaten in the past week to find that comforting rhythm of my breath again. But it took a solid 10 years to learn to breathe easy...
I crashed my car a few nights ago. The dark road, too casual a familiarity with the route, a bigger car than I'm used to, whatever else it was, I hit the shoulder, corrected, re-corrected, over-corrected, spun out, hit the only bit of guard rail on that entire stretch of road, then bounced back out onto the road. Felt like I was lifted out of the weird, eternal ballet spin and plopped back safely on the road. Except I'd wrecked the car.
And the first thing I did, the very first thing I did, was breathe. I felt the air come in and I felt it leave and I realized that no matter what else, I could breathe. I was deeply thankful.
The fellow who came upon my car a few minutes later and opened the door to ask if I was hurt, could clearly hear my gratitude when I replied that I was not. That I was sure I was all right.
"You're some lucky," he responded, shaking his head as he looked from the car to the rail that had caught me. "That guard rail saved your life".
"That guard rail saved my life..." I repeated, then I looked back at him and the rest of the men now crowding around, "No," I said slowly, "There was a lot of time to pray and God saved my life," I said as firmly as my shaky breathing would allow.
I may have been shaky. But I was breathing.
I'm still breathing.
And so are you.
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Let everything that hath breath praise The Lord- Psalm 150