The held breath. As if we haven’t quite begun yet to exist…That final form just waiting, the world waiting.
– B.H. Fairchild, The Blue Buick: A Narrative

4am. I stepped out on the back stoop to wake myself up, to splash my bare body with cold. Everything in sight was agog with moonglow. I looked up and into the night’s full sun and out of that splendid orb came a voice I believe to be God’s and God said tell them to breathe. And so I am.

Breathe. Don’t hold your breath any longer. Begin to exist today fully. Be. Merton described October as fine and dangerous…a wonderful season to begin anything at all. So begin today to inhale and exhale the fullness of you. We half-exist most days based on contingencies – I’ll begin when the kids are grown and gone or when we’re in better financial shape or when there is consensus on the team. We are a blue-faced race holding our breath most days, waiting and waiting. And why? At the risk of offending or inspiring you, I wager an answer – because we are afraid.

Holding back – it is the mortal sin of omission. A fearful half-existence of omitting our very selves from a world dappled with divine grace. A niggardly held-breath stumbling through day after day grasping at the black hope of one of these days…and all too often that day never comes, or when it finally does its over and we stand before the night’s full sun and a voice comes from inside that splendid orb and asks why were you afraid?

In that moment our bare bodies will be splashed with the cold-ache of a stillborn life. Oh there will be mercy, no doubt…but mercy bittered with regret.


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  1. Rich on October 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Just what I needed to read. This may be one of my favorite pieces ever. Blessings.

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Rich, your words mean much to me…thanks, my friend…

  2. Lindsay on October 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Some beautifully profound thoughts to begin a new day with… Love it… Saw a recent tribute to your Dad in the most current Arkansas Baptist News. I’ll see if it is full text online.

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Lindsay, thank you…please let me know if you find that article.

  3. nance marie on October 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    thanks for the message…

  4. patwatters on October 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Truth that goes well this morning with the fb post by Conversations Journal, and I do love it when that happens . . . God speaking through two or more simaltaneously. 🙂

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Pat, I’m too an a big fan or two or three gathered together…thanks!

  5. Laurie Wade on October 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    This was breathtaking to me! Thank you!

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      I’m grateful the words spoke to you, Laurie…

  6. Molly Davis on October 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    AH!!! I feel much better after reading this…I love your writing!!

    Thank you!!

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Always happy to help, Molly…thank you for stopping by…

  7. Jeff Goins on October 13, 2011 at 1:48 am


  8. Eric on October 13, 2011 at 5:09 am

    mmmmmm. *Today* is the Day of the Lord, eh?

  9. Laura on October 13, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Huh, I was having similar thoughts this morning. I wrote my own personal statement to seek to be aware of (and thus avoid) things with “numbing” influence (TV being the biggest one) and focus on awareness, alertness and aliveness. Thanks for listening in the still morning, and sharing the wisdom with the rest of us.

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Laura, someone needs to write ‘The Numbies Guide to Living’…I’d buy a copy, maybe two…thanks for taking time to write…

  10. csreynoldsChris on October 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    This is something my little community here in the Tennessee foothills has been dealing with. There is a restlessness in my small group and among my friends – a stirring call to deeper waters. I think that we, as Christians, are a community on the edge. I feel like we have been asleep too long and have awoken to word that is frightening. The world can no longer afford for us to hold back. It is time we step out into the cold blackness and breathe. Its time we live. We have been given life and we have a responsibility to take it to a world that is dying.

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Chris, I agree w/you about the stirring…its a feeling among many these days…grace for you and your friends as you breathe…

  11. Mick Silva on October 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Breathing. Thanks, my friend. You point the way. Was up at 4 as well, but produced nothing so wonderful as this. I’ll think better of it next time.

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Mick, its good to know other scribes blink about at 4am…I do hope all is well.

  12. gina on October 15, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Hi John. I am a long time blog stalker and a “friend” of your wife. I just read this post to my husband yesterday because it is so beautiful.
    I got into my car today just in time to hear the end of Key Life. Imagine my shock when I recognized the name of next weeks guest. I think I am going to need to get All Is Grace and read it in the next week, so I can have a framework for the discussion when I listen. And I will be listening.

    • thebeautifuldue on October 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      Gina, thanks for commenting…the interview went well…let me know what you think…

  13. llbarkat on October 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Beautiful permission.

    And your writing? It produces the emotional impact. It’s the details I think 🙂

  14. Cheryl Smith (@CherylSmith999) on October 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I’m breathless.

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