Sunday, March 27, 2011

Breathing and Boxes

"There is nothing left to cling to that can bring me sweet release I have no fear of drowning It's the breathing that's taking all this work" ---Jars of Clay

"And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."

Q: What’s green and skates?
A: Peggy Phlegm.

That’s the joke that I had rattling in my brain as I sat in urgent care. I battled the “cold’ I get every year. It starts in my throat and moves into my chest making breathing difficult. Difficult is an understatement. As a child I’d visited the emergency room six times for breathing problems. Six times I remember that my asthma was out of control---and so was I.

I like my trials in a little box, my ducks in perfect rows. God doesn’t will that our trials be neat and tidy. Rather they come at you like a boxer with well timed punches or the whirlwind whirring out of the wilderness (Job chapter 1). The writers of the epistles say they are multi-faceted. The next blow is coming but we don’t know from where.

I like breathing. I like breathing automatically. One shouldn’t have to think about breathing. I was thinking about breathing a lot. Now here’s a funny thing. Thinking about breathing is scary. When you are scared you tense up. Tensing up restricts your airway. One grows scared. There is no controlling this. Nothing works. Hence the visit to urgent care.

My mind kept thinking about the infirmity of Paul. He preaches to the Galatians with a bodily ailment so bad that he expected to be loathed and despised. The condition of his eyes was such that, “if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.” Bodily brokenness opens the door to spiritual healing---for ourselves and for others.

Victor Frankl argued that “Life is a pursuit of meaning itself, and that search for meaning provides the basis for a person's motivation. Pain then, if one could have faith in something greater than himself, might be a path to experiencing a meaning beyond the false gratification of personal comfort.”

The cold has passed and I breathe easily now. On the next wind or round the next bend will come another trial that takes breath away. The challenge is to be at peace in my weakness. My little box, my little trial, is pushing me beyond personal comfort and into the life of others and the fullness of God.

Picture from the bus at Grilled Cheese Grill

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