April 3, 2020
Dear Lake B Family and Friends,
Fair warning: this is a glimpse of how my mind works on a daily basis. Try and follow this train of thought…
“Breathe in deeply. Exhale.” In the midst of all the adjustments to new ways of living, I’ve started doing a simple thing – taking moments during the day to breathe deeply and exhale. It feels good.
I was out walking this morning and was reminded that God brought humanity to life through this very simple thing – breathing. God formed humanity from the dust of the ground and breathed into our nostrils the breath of life … and we became. God’s very breath in us animates all that we do.
While walking, my mind wandered to my dear friend Nicole, a respiratory therapist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma. I have known her since she was a sophomore at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School, and she is like a daughter to me. Yesterday she recounted what her days have been like at work, and I worry for her in all she is seeing and experiencing. She shared heartbreaking stories of people who are suffering and dying alone, having quite literally run out of breath. The simplest thing of life, the thing God gave all of us - His own breath - taken from their bodies in a cruel and punishing way.
“Jesus breathed his last.” I know this is jumping ahead to Good Friday, but that moment in Jesus’ life made me wonder about those last breaths for all of us. What happens? I watched my own father take his last breath, finally closing his eyes to this world after battling lung cancer, and it was as beautiful and profound as it was filled with sorrow. And even Jesus’ last breath reveals the God who identifies with us and with those whose breath is being taken from them in this moment. Though they may die without having their loved ones present, they are not alone. Sometimes they are accompanied in death by loving healthcare workers like Nicole. God was and is with them. Jesus was and is with them even in their final breath.
All that we hear about this pandemic can make us weary: flattening the curve; not enough masks, PPE, ventilators; threats to our economic health; local businesses closing; threats to our own and our children’s health and well-being. It’s breathtaking - and not in a good way. Being mindful of God’s breath in me, His life in me, is….well its LIFE.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” That’s the last sentence of the Book of Psalms. I offer it to you as a reminder of God’s life in you and in us as a community of faith. God’s breath – the fullness of life in us.
With gratitude and love for you,