Zombies move and act alive–sort of. They don’t actually possess the breath of life, which means they’re actually, deceptively dead. Are you–am I–living a zombie sort of life?
On Memorial Day, Jeff and I watched a movie about D-Day (see previous blog post about “Picking at a Societal Scab”). It concluded with a voice-over of a modern-day soldier who had lost a limb (or two) when a bomb exploded near the place he stood in Afghanistan. The young man said that as he was healing, as he was struggling to simply survive, he reflected on how the most important thing in this life wasn’t next year, or next month, or next week, or even any plans he might have for the next day, but the most important, wonderful thing was simply the next breath. If he could do that, then he might be able to have the courage and strength to take another one.
Breathing, simply breathing.
After hearing that, and for the next couple of weeks, I’ve had the hymn, “Breathe on Me, Breath of God,” running through my head. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when we sang it at church the very next Sunday, and that I’ve heard at least two or three messages on the topic in just the past couple of weeks. That’s the way God seems to work when he wants me to pay a little closer attention to something.
Dr. Sara Koenig, professor at Seattle Pacific University, spoke at a recent commencement gathering about how the present moment is about as long as it takes for you to breathe in and out–about three seconds. She asked the graduates to try to be fully present, fully engaged with the work they will be doing, and also to be fully present with the people they encounter, for as many of these precious, present moments as they can–and then to be sure and celebrate all the good ones!
As I keep singing “Breathe on Me, Breath of God,” while doing crossing guard duty, repairing piles of ripped and broken books in my school library, shelving the last books to come back at the end of the school year, I’ve been pondering what it would look like if we all asked God to be part of that next, most important, present moment. To fill that next breath with his Spirit’s peace, his love for others, his patience, his joy–even if those others we are surrounded by have different belief systems or political points of view, or even if they cut us off on the highway. What if we were to grab hold of God’s promised abundant life, moment by moment?
What kind of a difference would that make in my life? In the lives of those I encounter, both stranger and friend? Sometimes it feels easier to wander through a day more like a zombie, not letting God reach through each moment to make a loving difference to each student or co-worker or personwe pass on the street.
Yet, choosing life this moment, and then maybe the next moment, doesn’t feel so hard, does it? We can trust God with the moment after that.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Click on the link to hear the hymn!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-24