I awoke this morning before the sun. There was no point in trying to sleep, and I allowed myself pleasant, half awake thoughts of coffee and quiet time. With those thoughts in my mind, I made a stealth attempt to leave the comfort of the bed without waking the 3 sleeping littles. I failed. The toddler who had been snuggled next to me immediately noticed her missing pillow. The cries of one awoke the other, who awoke the other. Now, the house is dark but loud and very much awake. There is laughing and screaming and snacks, and the day has officially begun.
But in those moments of dark quiet, the moments before the chaos began, there was just me and the beautiful sound of breath. The in and out of life. The tangible knowing that the ones I love are here with me still. And in the midst of life’s ever present tragedies, I am reminded of the crushing weight of silence. The ear piercing nothingness that serves as a reminder of the loss that we all bear as people of flesh and bone. I have lived many moments waiting and watching for someone’s last intake of breath and that heavy exhale to follow. The last taste of earth. The holding on that has been required no longer enough to sustain.
But this morning, it was a different moment altogether. It was a moment full of life and gratefulness. An acknowledgement in the quiet of a dark morning that the breath of 3 precious lives will forever fill my soul to the very core with thankfulness. With love. With life.
And in that stillness, when the house itself sleeps, God is ever present and alive. His whisper found in the rise and fall of those I love. And I know, God we all know, there are no guarantees. There are no promises. But for today, there is a thankfulness that only has one true place to land, and that is at His feet.
And what of the shattering pain of silence that some of us are uncomfortably familiar with? Some of us more than others these days. The silence of life gone. Silence of cries unanswered. Silence that nearly breaks us apart. There is a God for that as well. A God of the broken hearted, and aren’t we all a little bit of both? A touch of life. A dose of death. A moment of light. A step in the dark. A life formed simultaneously out of joy and pain. We are all His children. And He gives us breath. And the breath of those we love is a gift never to be taken for granted.
And what I know is that there are those who are waking up this morning with a new reality completely. While all of our worlds have been turned upside down in a way that no one saw coming, there are some whose worlds have truly been altered forever. Yesterday, I saw a list of healthcare providers who have lost their life to this terrible illness. It was filled with people of all ages, including a 26 year old. The list was sobering, and the hardest part is the knowledge that it is being updated daily. All in the same news feed scroll, I saw a man whose mother and father died of COVID within 6 minutes of one another. Yet another story of newborns that are now passing away of COVID. It is heavy.
There is that whole other group of people whose life has turned on a dime. The Essentials. I imagine it is taking some of you every ounce of courage to walk through the hospital doors right now. The stress you carry. The fear you swallow down. Your career that felt predictable and comfortable and enjoyable just 2 months ago now has added elements that have rocked you to your core and made you question everything. And while I am not walking the hospital wards with you, I have lived that life for so long, that my very being beats with you. It is a strange thing to be on the sidelines of a game that you know you play well and, more than that, love to play.
And I guess, at the end of the day, this is wearing on all of us. It’s changing all of us, whether we know it yet or not. Some of you may have never contemplated death, and suddenly you don’t have a choice. It is in front of you every time you look at your phone or turn the tv on. Some of you have been touched in ways none of us will ever understand. I have taught my children that at any given moment there is always a baby being born, a person dying, and someone having a birthday. The Lion King put music to God’s age old circle of life. And this thing. This pandemic. It has shed light on the tragedies that come with living. It has uncovered fears and thoughts and panic, but it has also opened up a world of giving and love and patience and community.
And I think about how God is so aware of how this is going to end. I trust in a God who is here. Who is now. He is not distant. His children do not die alone. He is ever present. He hovered over the deep before time itself, and He will stand when it is all finished. He created each of us, knowing exactly where we would be when this pandemic would rock our worlds. And so this Saturday morning, one in which a lot of coffee will be required, let us breathe in the certainty of a God who created us. Who stands with us still. Who breathed life into us from the beginning, and who patiently waits for us to call on Him amidst the crisis.
And today, above all, may we enjoy the breath of the ones we love, and let it never be taken for granted.