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Breathe in, breathe out

Wed., June 20, 2012–One week left until vacation (but who’s counting?!). Actually, one week left until we leave to prepare for Russ Clark’s memorial service in Potsdam, NY and the committal of his and June’s ashes in the family cemetery plot in Governeur, NY. It will be good to be together as a family and to have that bit of closure.

THEN vacation. On a day like today, when it’s hot and muggy, it’s hard not to declare a vacation, a time out from all but the essential. We don’t do that very often, at least I don’t. Even our days off are filled with “to do’s,” so much so that we try to squeeze so much in, we’re often exhausted by the end of our days off! So much for rest, renewal, re-creation, let alone Sabbath. We Christians have a lot to learn from our Jewish brothers and sisters, who take Sabbath seriously, or rather, joyously. Can you even imagine spending a whole day with your family and loved ones, eating slowly and only what had been prepared or purchased beforehand, not running around to appointments or sports events or shopping, remembering that all that we are and have comes from God? Noticing the flowers, the cloud formations, having unhurried conversations with family and friends, not checking the e-mail or Facebook, keeping the tv off? Wow! What on earth would we do?! Breathe in, breathe out. Wouldn’t our minds go crazy with all that space? Probably, at least at the beginning. Breathe in, breathe out. Wouldn’t our bodies get “twitchy,” without racing around? Probably, but there are walks to take or bike rides (leisurely) to enjoy. Breathe in, breathe out.

Of course, I also know there are others for whom the days already drag on and on, but renewal and re-creation don’t exactly describe them. It’s more like loneliness, or boredom, or dealing with pain. Breathe in, breathe out. We can still turn our attention to God, who is present in all places, in all situations, in all times. Might God still be able to recreate us when we’re old, or alone, or sad, or under-used? I believe so. We just have to be open to what that re-creation might look like or feel like.

Breathe in, breathe out. It sounds so simple. We do it without even thinking. But every now and then, think about it. Notice it. See how much you can breathe in and notice the pause before the exhale. What is in that emptiness? Then breathe out, completely, more than you think is still left in your lungs. Experience that emptiness. Then see how much breath/Spirit/wind enters you to give you life again.

On vacation or in the midst of work. In school or out. Alone or in the midst of crowd. Breathe in, breathe out. It’s a gift from God.

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