There is nothing more essential to life than breath. We know a baby is born alive and well when he takes his first breath; we know someone has died when they take their last breath, and then there are all the breaths in between that make up life.
So many times someone would tell me, “Breathe, Michelle…” and I thought it was a silly thing to say. After all, we all know what happens when you stop breathing, right? No one would intentionally choose to stop breathing, would they?
Yet, we do… we forget to breathe, sometimes… and we often do need that gentle reminder to breathe.
Every major event in my life, breath was a part of it – but not just because I WAS breathing, but more because I wasn’t. There are those moments we ’catch our breath’ and hold it within, almost as though we are trying to stop time and capture a moment, thinking that if we don’t breathe, the moment will not pass, or hoping that if we do, the moment will.
- ~~~The moment before his lips touched mine for the first time, I held my breath, anxiously waiting the tender taste of new love, strong love… first love, shared.
- ~~~When both of my children were born, I remember being told with each contraction, “Here comes another one, get ready to breathe, Michelle… Here it comes… Breathe… that’s good, keep breathing….”
- ~~~Then the moment when both of my children took their first breaths, and that sound that comes with it, that beautiful crying, the only time in your life when hearing your baby cry is a good thing, a wonderful thing, a wanted thing. We spend the next several years doing everything we can to keep them from crying, but that moment of first breath is the crying we desire most.
- ~~~The moment before the needle pierces the skin at the doctor’s office, I suck in a deep, sharp breath.
- ~~~The night he didn’t come home, I wondered if I’d ever breathe again. When I knew he wasn’t coming home ever again, my chest hurt, and it was hard to breathe.
- ~~~The first time he told me he loved me, I caught my breath, held it a moment, and let it out slowly, surely, before I told him I loved him too.
- ~~~Sometimes I can laugh so hard I can’t breathe, and other times, I can cry so much it makes it hard to breathe.
- ~~~Pain and pleasure experienced so it knocks the breath right out of you.
Breath. Essential to life… the first thing they ask when someone is knocked out, “Is he breathing?”
Somehow, all is well–or at least it will be–as long as we are breathing.
So many times in my life I’ve been caught holding my breath, waiting for the moment to pass or hoping it wouldn’t ever.
When we hold our breath, I think in a way our souls are suspended for a moment between the living world and the after places, as though we are part of neither realm completely, that place of transition where we make the choice, consciously or not, to BE alive, to LIVE our life all over again, and when we make that choice to take in that next breath, life resumes.
So with every breath we make the choice, knowingly or not, to keep living… keep trying… keep breathing.
“Breathe, Michelle… Just breathe…”