For the past several years, I’ve been fascinated with (and severely sidetracked by) the idea of breathing. Not just breathing, really. Breath. Life. Spirit. Breathing. God. New life. That kind of thing.
When something captures my attention, it’s pointless for me to try and redirect. I find it best to just hang on tightly and see where the ride takes me.
This ride has been quite something. Quite something, indeed. And I suspect that it’s nowhere close to being over.
The thing about breathing is that it’s so, well, normal. Everyday. Ordinary. Unspectacular. Mundane, even. Which is right up my alley.
I’ve always been enamored with The Mundane. As far as I’m concerned, the seemingly mundane things of life are where it’s at. Things like junk drawers, frozen brown bananas, old Reader’s Digest Condensed books (just the covers, actually), and public library book sales are as interesting and profound as the things many intellectuals hold up as revered sources of Signification and Ontology and Elevated Discursive Topics (That Very Few People Care About Or Understand). Measured in terms of its excitement value or its rarity, what could be more mundane than breathing?
[Jesus, by the way, is the main where-it’s-at thing in my life, but I certainly do not categorize Him as mundane. I do, however, find it interesting that He spent so much time talking about and paying attention to things and people and ideas that in His day were likely viewed by the masses as mundane.]
The big things in life wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the small things…the mundane things…the unflashy things. In that respect, then, there is nothing small, mundane, or unflashy about them. And so it is with breathing.
In. Out. In. Out. Minute after minute. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. For a lifetime.
It’s a bit boring…or breathtaking…depending on one’s view of the mundane.
I believe breathing is a very Jesus-y thing.
God created humanity and breathed the breath of life into them. They are made. They are alive. They are loved by God more than anything else in creation, to such a dizzying degree that King David muses: “When I consider the night sky, the glorious works of Your hand, the stars and planets and universe at large, I have to ask you, God…who am I that You would pay any attention at all to me, would care for me, would even notice me?!?!” But He does. If I read the Bible rightly all the way from Genesis to the Psalms to the Gospels to the Epistles, I can only conclude that humanity takes God’s breath away, so deep is His love for us.
Then humanity – in very human fashion – proceeds to unmake itself by saying to God (much like the younger son of Luke 15): “Thank you very much (or not), but I’d like my share of the estate. Now. All of it. Mine. So long. Outta here.” Humanity, spiritually speaking, is dead. Unbreathing.
But rather than abandoning humanity – which is what it has asked for and earned and deserves – God says: “Don’t panic. I’ve got this. I’m on my way. I’m here,” (my paraphrase), shows up on earth as a human Himself and willingly goes to the cross where His love for us literally took His breath away when He breathed His last and finished the task only He could do.
Well…that’s just the start of this whole breathing thing. More (of the mundane) to follow.