When I inhale and exhale and it’s not enough!

By: Sr. Joy De Vera, RA

It was in October 2014, when I had my longest staycation in a local hospital in our province. I thought it was ordinary coughing when my mom convinced me to have my checkup first before going to work. My doctor did not allow me to go home after that. “You have a bad asthma attack!” she said. My doctor asked me to have a laboratory test using spirometry to measure the airflows that I inhale and exhale -the normal is 70% but mine is only 30%. My doctor is caring enough that she asked me to take all the other health tests that I can and I discovered many other developing complications not only in my lungs. She warned me that if I will not pay attention to this, things might get worse. So, I obey.

At that moment in the hospital room, I was so agitated. I thought of my work meetings, my weekend mission, the family travels that need to be canceled because of that incident. Friends and relatives visited me, send me encouraging messages and assurance of prayers. They advise me to just stay put, relax, and rest.

In that moment of stillness, I become more aware. Whenever they put something on my nose so I can breathe properly or they ask me to nebulize from time to time, I realize that this is not normal. I take for granted the used to be normal. In the past years of experiencing hospital confinement, most of the reason is in my stomach. I felt that my whole body system is having a rebellion against me. They are protesting for not taking them seriously whenever they are asking my attention. 

It dawned on me that when I inhale, I cannot filter the air that I will allow to come in within me. There’s a risk of inhaling air pollutants that can cause more harm in my lungs. I was very conscious of that reality after the incident. We all have common air to inhale and exhale, but not everyone is mindful to take care of it.

When I fully recover, I never cease praying and thanking God with the gift of “Breathe”. It was not normal since then. I need to carry an inhaler wherever I go. This life lesson made me realize that:

Breathe a sign of life.

Breathe is a gift.

Breathe is prayer.

Breathe in God’s Spirit in me.

I take for granted and tend to forget that “Breath” is one of the best miracles I am experiencing every day in my life.

I was always grateful for big achievements:

 “Thank you I hit my target again!” 

“Thank you I pass the interview!” 

“Thank you for the bonus!” 

…and I shout it out to the world, but I failed to be grateful in simple, ordinary everyday miracles. 

Awareness teaches me to inhale fully and exhale properly the love of the Lord that never ends.

Awareness recreates newness the way I see things within me and around me.

Awareness increase my sense of awe and wonder —

from the leaves that slowly falls from the tree,

from the butterfly that enjoys playing around with the flowers,

from the sun rays that kisses my face,

with many other events but most importantly…

from the air that I inhale and exhale – these are signs of life.

However, for many of us, these are just ordinary everyday events. We lack in appreciating the ordinary. Through the grace of awareness, these ordinary events mesmerize the child in me. It is an everyday miracle that I will never cease to be grateful for!

During this pandemic, when one of the symptoms of acquiring the virus is “grasping breath” and the virus can live in the air where we commonly breathe – we can be disturbed by a lot of uncertainties.

When to inhale and exhale is not enough, because the virus can block the smooth flow of it. 

On the other hand, the virus of our own reasoning can also be the reason to block our senses to see the miracles of the ordinary things.

When we allow the virus of unbelief, hopelessness, and distrust to snatch away our sense of awareness that there is a big God who is in control.

When we allow the virus of worries to snatch our peace.

When we allow the virus of anxieties to blind us with the truth of what God can do.

We continually pray! Pray not just because we want this pandemic to end, but to pray unceasingly to see things how God wants us to see Him amid uncertainties. There’s a lot of miracles happening around us indeed! He will makes all things new (2 Cor 5:17).

Lord, teach us to be grateful for the ordinary everyday miracles of life. May our hearts never cease to praise You. Grant us the grace of awareness that recreates our hearts to see that You are bigger than this pandemic.

May we always inhale fully and exhale generously Your love.

“Breathe on me, breathe of God,

Fill my life anew,

That I may love the way you love and do what you would do,

Breathe on me, Breath of God”

-Edwin Hatch(1878)-

Photo Credit: Deep breath by melanie weidner 2005 | sun-gazing

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