Sunday, November 6, 2011

Breathing--it's that important

If you walk into my therapy gym and ask if I tell corny jokes, I'll be the first person to raise my hand. I admit it, I'm no stand-up comedian. Additionally, my sense of humor is somewhat (ok, very) black and dry. Quite unlike the coffee I drink, but that's a whole other blog post... I blame it on my dad the engineer, his time in the military (even though he was out long before I was born, cynicism CAN be inherited), and an entire childhood of both watching M*A*S*H and listening to Aggie jokes.  Seriously, there needs to be a support group for people who have been forced to listen to Aggie jokes... So it's really no surprise that my collection of professional humor is really just corny, recycled one-liners designed to get a quick grin. Many times they contain a point that I'm trying to make to my patient while not sounding nagging. Several that get recycled more than others are "Don't stop breathing on me, bad things happen when you stop breathing" and "Breathing is beneficial. I highly recommend it to all my patients." They usually get the desired effect--the patient who has been holding his breath under the strain of whatever exercise laughs a bit and resumes breathing. This is an important step as I have a record of 10+ years CPR certification that has never been used on anything that can in fact breathe. I do not want to break this record.

Breathing is something I've been thinking about a lot this last week, primarily because it's been such a struggle secondary to a severe sinus infection.  One day my O2 saturation level was even below that of one of my patient's that I was walking down the hall!  After several sleepless nights filled with coughing and labored breathing, I desperately called my doctor and begged for the soonest possible appointment. And, yay for the strong antibiotics and prescription cough medicine, I'm actually sleeping. With the help of Afrin, I'm breathing again too! (and my husband is also glad that I'm no longer tossing and turning as it kept him awake as well.)  Breathing is beneficial. In modern medicine we tend to think of the heart and it's importance to life, but it was actually breath that was chronicled as the start of human life.

Genesis 2:7 "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Job affirms his belief of the divine origins of life: "The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4 Two chapters earlier one of Job's friends addresses not only the physical, but also the spiritual design of God, "But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding." Job 32:8 (emphasis added on all verses.)

 Breathing. Spiritually, how are you breathing? Are you taking deep breaths and enjoying the sweetness of a God who loves you? Are you free and unrestricted with Him? Or, do you have something obstructing your spiritual lifeline, stopping you from filling your lungs? I'll confess that many times I let the stress of my life interfere and I forget to breathe. I find myself perplexedly gasping for breath and wondering why I feel so winded and weak. Bad things happen when you stop breathing. Instead of running to the Creator and letting Him fill me, I continue with the same, inefficient way of managing even when I know it isn't working.

Question: which is the more important part of breathing, inspiring or expiring? (breathing in or breathing out) The answer may surprise you. It's actually breathing out. When you expel the old, stale air from your lungs your body will automatically take in a nice, deep breath full of fresh air. What are you getting rid of, expelling from your life? Are you holding onto things that are slowly strangling you and preventing an influx of that which is good? For me, there are many things that I hold onto and stubbornly refuse to do what is best. It's not that I don't want to breathe, I just don't place a high priority on it when the truth is that time with my Savior is the most important. Without breath there is no life.

Breathing. It's that important.

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