Saturday, January 22, 2022

20,000 miracles a day

In the past two years, I haven't known what to write because it feels like there is only one conversation: the virus. 

The conversation hasn't felt like a virus. It has felt like a fungus, releasing its spores, infecting us all with fear or anger or too much caution or too little caution. It's trapped us in corners with webs of its social media filaments, along with other people with the same fears and angers, netted together. 

In the past, I've had little phrases that niggle at my brain that I can't get out until I write them down. I would awake in the early parts of the morning and the phrase or idea would be there, waiting for me. But, that hasn't happened for a couple years. I still wake in the early parts of the morning, but there's nothing there. My brain isn't capturing words and ideas.

Recently, though, finally, a thought keeps coming back to me. I keep thinking about breathing.

I was on a plane not too long ago, and though wearing a very good mask, I thought about everyone else wearing masks, and our breaths, filtered through those masks, gathering together in the cabin and mingling. And then we would breathe again. Our masks may do the job; they may not. A few days later, I was at a retreat, and several times through the course of the retreat, our leader would guide us in our breathing to help us quiet our minds. Breathe in, wait. Breathe out, wait. We were all breathing together. My body would quiet, but my mind wouldn't.

This makes it sound like I'm frightened and anxious. That's not the right way to explain my feeling. I'm not frightened of breathing. This act that keeps me alive might make me sick; however, I know that I will recover. I'm healthy, I'm boostered, I have a safe and comfortable place to wait out my sickness. I will breathe my way through it. 

We do the best we can to keep the world moving. I go to work and wear my mask and my students wear theirs and we breathe and learn together. Some of them have lost family members. Some of my colleagues have, too. We test after notification of exposure. I go to the farmers' market and smile with my eyes over my mask at the farmers who bring us their best goods, and breathe with them. I take Indy for walks on the hills and breathe hard, unmasked, and chat outdoors with my neighbors when we run into each other. We laugh. At home, I watch the steam my breath moves over my coffee cup. I kiss my husband when we say goodbye in the morning and when we greet each other after work, and our breaths mingle as we embrace.

So, I'm going to keep breathing, and I'm going to start writing again, but may the breath from my lips reach God's ears: let this be the only post about the virus.

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