Listen to this week’s Devotional here.
Author: Deborah Voss
Breathing usually does not require any thought, because it is controlled by the autonomic nervous system — until the day you die, it just happens. In and out, day after day, we breathe.
And yet, sometimes under stress, pressure, when I’m scared, when I can’t sleep, I remind
Myself — “Breathe!” I take a few long, deep breaths. I feel the breath enter my lungs and hold it there, then slowly let it go. I take control of my breathing for a few minutes; I bring myself in and find the calm center inside myself.
I have a mantra in these times — “Let go and let God.” Or I may adjust it to my breathing, on the in breath “O God” and on the out breath “Thank you,” as I feel the loosening of letting go.
Ruach, Spirit, Breath, Wind. When I stop and breathe with full consciousness, I feel the Spirit move through me, cleansing, calming, releasing all that I have knotted up in my physical and my emotional bodies.
Like many, these last few weeks as we moved into election season, I felt the tension, the fear that I still struggle with even as I write these words, waiting to find out the outcomes of races to close to call. And I remind myself to breathe, and in the breathing to move into hope and love and even joy.
I found this poem which spoke to me. It is “Annunciation” by Malcolm Guite, the first of five
sonnets he wrote on the Annunciation (this is the first stanza).
We see so little, stayed on surfaces,
We calculate the outsides of all things,
Preoccupied with our own purposes
We miss the shimmer of the angels’ wings,
They coruscate around us in their joy.
A swirl of wheels and eyes and wings unfurled,
They guard the good we purpose to destroy,
A hidden blaze of glory in God’s world.
I smile as I read this, as it is the human condition to see so little, to miss the “hidden blaze of glory in God’s world.” Perhaps when I become conscious of the miracle of “the autonomic nervous system” and engage in that miracle by experiencing the Ruach, the breath of Spirit that animates me, I connect with that Spirit in a way that allows me to find hope and joy in the knowledge that there is so much we cannot see, but understanding that we are all surrounded by the wings of angels standing guard over the good. And that God’s glory permeates us and the world around us now and forever.
Prayer: Oh God, fill me with your love, your hope, your compassion, your forgiveness and may your Spirit fill me with every breath I take. Amen