Sunday, August 10, 2008
The air I breathe
When I was younger I often had periods of panic attacks. Lying in bed in the middle of the night I struggled to take in a breath, my brain not getting the signal from the lungs that all was well. Terrified. Darkness weighting down my chest. Desperate for air I would sit up in bed, every fiber of my being straining to take it in, to have it make its way to my lungs. Minutes could seem like hours while I waited for my body to realize that everything was ok, that I was breathing in and out, that the world was returning to normal. I spent one summer in college sleeping on my roommate's bean bag chair because I couldn't sit up in my loft bed and the attacks were particularly frequent that summer. Sleeping in the chair, sometimes waking and wandering the campus and surrounding neighborhood at one in the morning; I was desperate for air.
We live in a world that is desperate for air. Drowning, flailing, and grasping at anything that seems to offer what they need. We have hope to offer them. We breathe in the air of the presence of God; we breathe it in and know the peace that only he can bring. Take a deep breath. Now hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Do you see where I'm going with this? We can't breathe in without breathing back out. If we don't breathe out, if our lives don't exude the presence of God with every breath that goes out from us not only do we deprive those around us of the air that they need, we deprive ourselves of the next breath, and the next, and the next.
I was lost. I was desperate for air. As God's presence fills my life with his hope and his peace, I want to breathe it out again to the next person, and the next, and the next, and the next.
He is the air I breathe.