Life is danced to rhythms
we soon forget are there.
The blink of eyes, the beat of hearts,
the breath and sigh of air
are lost to cycles of the sun
and pass with little care.
They slip our mind as measures
in time until we're unaware
we wake t’thm, walk t’thm,
work t’thm, talk t’thm,
laugh t’thm, cry t’thm,
live t’thm... die t’thm.
It becomes a most ungraceful dance
when we ignore the Hand that grants
the Grace and gently taps... the rhythm.
© Copyright 2007, TK, Patterns of Ink
The moment you were born, the rhythm of breathing in and out began.
Try this with me. Hold your breath for 30 seconds as you read this paragraph. Ready? Start.You are suspending a rhythm of life. If you do this for too long, your brain will begin screaming, “Hey, silly, let your body do what God made it to do. Let it breathe until it’s time not to.” Still holding?.... Now exhale and breathe in again. Ahhh... isn't it amazing?
Earth’s air outside our bodies has just the right amount of oxygen; our lungs have just the right design to take that oxygen from the air and pass it along to our blood; the heart sends the oxygenated blood coursing through our veins to millions of cells and muscles, including those that power the billows of our lungs that breathe in and out the air. Just as our brain whispered for breath as we read that last paragraph, our body itself cries out for air, "Keep breathing, lungs! Keep beating, heart! Your rhythms of life sustain me!"
This is just a hint of what the Psalmist meant when he said, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”? It is frightening. It is wonderful.
We cannot bank breaths. It's strictly an "in and out" account. The word "inspire" literally means "to breathe into." When doing something creative, we sometimes say this "inspired" me, meaning "this gave life to the idea." When our last breath of life is let go, and the opposite of inspire happens: we expire (we literally ex-spire, breathe out). But more than that happens. The “spire” part of both words is the root of the word spirit. The spirit leaves the body soon after that last breath. This may seem too obvious for words, but events of recent days make it feel profound if not surreal. Those events prompted me to share some of these thoughts with our 6-12 students last Friday morning.
Our beating heart and breathing in and out measure time more surely than a clock, for they measure our time.
Is that what is meant by “fearfully…made”—that sometimes we are afraid the rhythm will stop? Maybe. It does happen. Scripture tells us life is a vapor, and its brevity is not something we like to dwell on. For that reason, I prefer to think "fearfully made" means complexity beyond comprehension. I touched on this in a poem called WONDER IS. The truth is we wonder about far more than we know when it comes to the miracle of life.
One of the comments left in the Mlive article in the December 16 post came from a reader who could not understand why God and not science was getting credit for what many were calling a miracle. I understand that modern man is prone to give science the credit for such events. After all, science figured out the mechanics of how organs like the heart and lungs function, and man did invent the AED machine that provides the electrical impulse needed for resuscitation, but prayer cries out to the One who first put that impulse in the first heart. Prayer reaches beyond how things work and gives credit to the Creator who knows why they work (i.e. the reason for life) to begin with.
In that sense, the "fear" of being wonderfully made is the same fear as in "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." [Proverbs 9:10]
Those who reject God or relegate him to some far-off "force" seem to fear the fearful miracle... They fear of the implications of being "wonderfully made." It's not the wonder that frightens them... it's the word made. That word implies a Creator. What if the breath of life is inseparable from the breath of God? If so, believers and agnostics alike face two choices: to believe that breath and the God who made it have purpose. Or to pretend... that LIFE JUST HAPPENED.
If everything we see just happened--a galactic box of BBs spilled--then we owe nothing to anyone. We're accountable to no one. We can live and let live. "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die." The problem with pretending the intricate design and delicate rhythms of life just happened is that we lose any hope of relationship with God, time and eternity. We begin to think life is all about us and our fleeting existence. As Peggy Lee's hit song in 1969 put it...
"...When that final moment comes
and I'm breathing my last breath,
I'll be saying to myself:
Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that's all there is, my friends,
then let's keep dancing.
Let's break out the booze
Let's break out the booze
and have a ball... If that's all...there is"
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That song depicts the last lines of the poem at the top of this post. It is a "... most ungraceful dance [that] ignores the Hand that grants the Grace and gently taps... the rhythm." As for me and my house [and our school], "[We] will praise Thee for [we are] fearfully and wonderfully made" That same psalmist added in the very last verse of the same Psalm:
"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!" as heard in this song: