Breathing, like God, is vital

Tales from the front pew

We’ve had some breathless moments lately at the Smith house. Not because something exciting has been happening, mind you, but because we’ve been experiencing breathing problems.

It all began with our collective decision to take a “staycation” — you know, the new trend of taking time off from work but staying home. Or, as I tend to think of it, a vacation for poor folks who can’t afford to actually go anywhere.

As part of our staycation, my husband, Bob, decided to take on a new project: changing our downstairs spare room into a home office for himself. Prior to his decision, he had kept a desk and chair upstairs in our bedroom, but the whole office/bedroom ambiance left something to be desired.

As prep for his big move, Bob first had to get the spare room in habitable condition, which involved running the vacuum cleaner. Some folks buy vacuums made by Hoover or Dyson. We apparently purchased ours from the “Backwards Company.”

I make this observation because, rather than sucking up the dirt, our vacuum cleaner manages to spew it out all over the carpet. Knowing this in advance, Bob decided to wear one of those surgical-type masks to protect his lungs from the inevitable onslaught. It was kind of like watching Dr. Kildare as the maid.

It seemed like a promising idea in theory, but in practice, it left a lot to be desired. After about 10 minutes, Bob emerged from the spare room, the mask pulled off his face and dangling from his neck.

“So, doc,” I asked him with a straight face, “Is the patient gonna live?”

“Yeah, but I might not,” he answered, and began coughing loudly.

“Oh, no. The mask didn’t help?”

“Not in the slightest,” he said, initiating another bout of coughing. “Next time, I’ll have to spring for the $1.99 ones.”

It took Bob a trip outside into the fresh air, a glass of iced tea and a half-hour respite on the living room sofa to get his breathing back to normal. Crisis averted. Or so I thought, anyway.

A little while later, Bob recruited our daughter, Val, to help him with the move.

Val’s part consisted of carrying piles of books from upstairs to downstairs, where they’d eventually be put back onto the desk shelves in the new room.

Trooper that she is, Val attacked the task with gusto at first, loading several heavy tomes in her arms at a time, and then returning for more. After a while, though, her father and I noticed that she was breathing heavily and had a pained expression on her face.

“What’s wrong, hon?” Bob asked.

“I think I went up and down the stairs too fast,” she gasped. “I can barely get my breath.”

I looked at Bob and shook my head. “Maybe we should put this project on hold for a while. Otherwise we’ll be spending our ‘staycation’ staying in the emergency room.”

Yep, breathing’s pretty important.

In Greek, the Bible is described as theopneustos, the English translation meaning “God-breathed.” Breathing is vital to life; so is the Word of God.


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