I’m sitting at our kitchen counter, Bright Eyes plays on my computer, “24” comes on in three-quarters of an hour.

Scratch that. I just turned the music off. And the dryer. And the dishwasher. All that I can hear now is the tick of the clock next to me and the soft clicks of the keyboard. It’s rare in my life that it is this quiet.

We talked, yesterday, about breath. We watched a video about how the same Hebrew word means both breath and spirit, the very name of God — Yahweh — can actually be the very act of breathing. God not only imparts breath, but every breath is us breathing Him, every breath is us reciting his name, us adoring him.

In the quiet of my house in the dark I can hear my own breath. It’s slow and relaxed.

I was sick over Christmas break and unable to run, to workout, to do anything active. Last Thursday, I went skiing with my brother and a friend. At the thin air of 11,000 feet coming down through a mogul field, my thighs burned through their oxygen and screamed for more, my lungs opened wider but could not get enough of the life giving substance, and I sucked at the air as quickly as I was able. It felt like I was breathing through a straw. I did not think at that moment that I was breathing, “yahwehyahwehyahwehyaweh.” But I think it now that my breathing is a slow: “Yah… weh… Yah… weh.”

Perhaps when we’re short on breath — a near car accident, a panic attack, a shouting match, or the top of a ski run — we have to breath God’s name more. Our bodies are made in a way so that when times are stressful we have no choice. Our breathing becomes faster. We breath Yahweh the same way we might mutter, “godhelpmegodhelpme” just before a collision. Our bodies are made to cry out for God, and to cry out faster and more fervently when we’re short of breath. Short of spirit.

When I’m out of breath, I don’t think of this. I think of “catching” my breath, of getting back to that comfortable state where I can breath God more slowly. It’s on dark evenings with nothing but the noise of a clock, a keyboard, and my breathing that I’m reminded of how I am made. And I thank God for evenings of near silence, and for ski runs where I am short of breath.

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