I’m in such a hurry, I’m always breathless.
I don’t know if this is due to chronic, severe childhood asthma or the evidence of a stressful adolescence or the result of my hectic existence. Whatever the cause, I am perpetually hyperventilating — breathing too fast. I quite simply don’t breathe correctly.
I know how to breathe correctly. Good vocal training insured that. The first lesson in voice class is, surprisingly enough, How to Breathe. I am apparently not the only one who needed that lesson. My private teacher stretched Lesson 1 into a couple months. I’m a slow learner at something I should have been practicing since my first birthday. Those were happy lessons. When once I learned How to Breathe, all of singing became a joy.
I never feel so free, so happy, so strong as when I am singing.
I don’t sing often enough.
The diaphragm is for filling. Belly is for thrusting out with each inhale. Lungs are for expanding.
Yet ever inward I squeeze, tensing neck, shoulders, back, and abdomen. Tensing, squeezing, allowing only the slightest wisp of oxygen inside before I thrust the meagerness out powerfully, much more surely then I let anything inside. Outward, always pushing outward, barely letting the least portion to come within.
There is a strong analogy for my own personality there, but I’ll not explore it just today.
The fact dawned on me the other day, as I stopped myself mid-exhale to enjoy one full, cleansing breath.
Breathing takes time.
And time is everything.
For the last 72 hours, I’ve been thinking of little else. How little time we have with loved ones. How swiftly fly the hours of a happy day. How much time is wasted and mourned.
I visited an antique show and fingered quilts, pearls, spoons, and books from forgotten hours in forgottten families with forgotten hopes and dreams. The times they shared, were they treasured?
The vintage dishes I rescued from a thrift store shelf, scraping off the 99 cent stickers and buffing off the grime of newsprint, those well-worn plates were given the time to age toward antique status, increasing their worth to me if not to the one who discarded them.
The employee who needs more time to understand the responsibility.
The child who spent early hours singing books of the New Testament until they were engraved on his heart.
The teen who values time with good friends and good games.
The vagrant who needed time to find his way into lay ministry.
We all need time.
I need time. My spouse needs time. My children need time. My friends need time.
And while I wait …