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The Significance of a Single Breath

Throughout the last few weeks, I’ve spoken with several people who have found it difficult to articulate the myriad of feelings and emotions that they’re dealing with in this current climate. From having to face an unprecedented pandemic and all of the changes associated with staying safe, well and alive in the process, to witnessing a horrific death occur at the hands of law enforcement that has sparked conversations about racism unlike any within recent years – it is almost overwhelming to be fully engaged in media depictions from the many varied angles.

The greatest commonality with both of these is the inability to adequately receive the benefit of unaltered breathing. The average person takes an estimated 20,000 breaths per day and each one is critical to our overall well-being. Most of us never think of the significance of breathing as long as we are able to breathe without complication. Yet, every single breath we take is an incredible gift from God. For it is His breath that is in our lungs.

“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7 As we can see in the preceding verse, we were simply dust until God breathed into the nostrils of wo(man).

We can all recall the moment when George Floyd took his last breath and we remember one of the last phrases from his mouth as he lay on the ground in Minneapolis, “I can’t breathe”. In parallel, persons who have recovered from COVID-19 have almost unanimously stated that one of the most difficult effects of this respiratory-affected virus is the difficulty it creates for breathing.

To have both of these significant occurrences within the same year has caused some people to express as the Old Testament character Job did in the 9th Chapter when he said (paraphrased) “there wasn’t even time to catch my breath before I was overwhelmed again”. Before the pandemic ended, the protests began. Thus, this year has already felt like a famine or a plaque of Biblical proportions. But today, I’d like to encourage each of you to take a moment to just breathe.

Amid the stress, take a moment to breathe. Take time today to be consciously aware of your breathing. Close your eyes and consider the significance of each breath.

With each breath, whisper a prayer for the family of every person whose last words were “I Can’t Breathe”. Whisper a prayer for every person who is yet struggling to catch their breath as they deal with the pandemic of COVID-19. Whisper a prayer for every person who struggles with respiratory illnesses. And as we remember others whose breaths are hindered, we can be reminded of the blessing of every single breath that we are allowed to take.

So, if you are struggling with how best to handle everything that is going on around you, let me just encourage you today to simply “Breathe”. There is great significance in taking deep breaths. If the events around you are creating more stress than you are able to endure - Quiet your mind, relax your body and – take time today to become aware of your breath.

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