Reflections on Breathing

A Very Special Guest Post by My Sister-in-Law, Stacy Hotes

Stacy’s been selflessly enduring the graveyard shift at the hospital to advocate for her mother who is healing from open heart surgery. This came to her one evening as she sat vigil over her mother. I think it is beautiful. Thank you for letting me share this with the world, Stacy. I love you.


IV DripWe live so much in the busyness of the days, in our to do lists, our wants lists, our friends and families lists.  It has been a refreshing revelation and reminder to sit here in my mother’s hospital room, and gain profound pleasure in watching her chest move up and down with every blessed, sacred breath, each one a gift from a God who desires to give us the very best.  We lose sight of those comprehensions as they melt away into our subconscious, coming one after another in expected, commonplace, unremarkable rhythm, until we come face to face with the realization that each and every one is a gift from God, whole and complete, with a place in the continuum that — were it not filled — would spell the end of that continuum.

It is the very essence of life, as it were, that gentle lifting up and easing down of a chest filled first with air, and then released for a short moment.  As William Blake said,

      ”To see the world in a grain of sand,

      and heaven in a wild flower,

      hold infinity in the palm of your hand

      and eternity in an hour.”

This is the distilled truth of life, that without each breath — the visible, outward sign of a working body that draws it in, releases it, sends the oxygen through the heart and the blood through the veins, and the signals through the nerves, and the information to the brain — without that breath, the body no longer lives and serves.

All the things we have placed importance on, the individual choices of what is important and what must be done and how to complete it and what to do next are nothing without that breath that comes in, does its work, and goes out again, in a rhythm as encompassing and satisfying as listening to the pounding surf on a Hawaiian beach.  Because it is a soft and gentle and simple involuntary thing, we lose sight of it, we overlook, we lack awareness of the beauty of this gift that God has given us.  Until it is nearly taken away, and the raw fragility, the inherent, undeniable necessity, and truly, the incredible sweetness, of each breath is emblazoned again on our minds and hearts.

Stacy's Sweatshirt

Stacy’s Sweatshirt, original watercolor by Jennifer L. Hotes © 2013

3 thoughts on “Reflections on Breathing

  1. Stacy’s words are a poignant reminder to all of us to be thankful for every breath. Stacy, thank you for sharing them with us. Wishing you much strength and your mother rapid healing.

  2. Thank you for sharing this Jennifer. Stacy’s mother is so lucky to have such a loving daughter and Stacy is lucky to have you as a sister-in-law.

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