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.