For ten days, my main priority was breathing. I still feel the irritating tubes that never quite fit my nose exactly right, still hear the panicked beeping sound of the monitor whenever my oxygen level dipped below 85%, still taste the salty muck of Albuterol steaming around my cheeks and eyes and tongue as I tried to enhale as much of it as possible, still remember my lungs and chest resisting the forced inhalation of air through a mask, as though they didn't want to expand the way they are supposed to. It was painful and exhausting to just breathe in and out as deeply as I could, fighting against congestion and noisy wheezing. It was stressful and made me crazy when it was bedtime and I wanted to sleep, but I also had to cough and breathe, and I couldn't figure out how to do both at the same time - either I surrendered to sleep and woke up unable to breathe, congestion too thick to gasp and cough, or I laid awake all night working hard to just not stop breathing.
When was the last time you even thought of breathing in your sleep? Or breathing while you eat? Or expanding your lungs in a deep inhale, or exhaling completely in clear, clean silence? It's amazing... for something we do all the time and we can't last a minute without it, I've realized that I seriously underappreciate oxygen. Life is better now... No more tubes or monitors. I can take a deep breath in and let it out without noise or incident. My body is still recovering, still trying to get stronger and hold energy longer. I suppose I am having some success in recovery, just not as fast and efficiently as I would like to... taking shorter naps and feeding myself without too much drama. Small victories. But breathing is the best and happiest improvement. I didn't know how much I needed it, wanted it, depended on it, until I didn't have it. I didn't realize what a blessing it is to inhale and exhale, until I couldn't.
This month, I'm memorizing Psalm 42... a psalm of desperation, panting after God, longing for Him, thirsting for him. It's beautiful, because every day it reminds me of my desperate need for Him. Like air, I forget sometimes that I cannot live without Him... and like having a monitor obnoxiously honk at me when my oxygen is low, I need a reminder - His Word - to prod me back to humbly realizing my dependence on Him.
Thanking God for every breath... and committing each one back to Him.
This is the air I breathe - Your Holy presence living in me.
And I, I'm desperate for You...