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Breath of Life

Earlier this week, I discovered an unusual video that my husband left behind. He was testing a new camera gimbal and recorded jerky footage of our living room furniture as he fiddled with various settings on the remote control. I watched eagerly, waiting for a greater narrative to unfold, but Craig had switched off the camera after less than a minute. Others may have found the footage unremarkable. To me, it was priceless.

I could hear him breathing.

The sound of Craig’s breath gripped my heart as if he were reading me a love poem. Every inhalation, every sigh, had been imprinted in my soul during our 14 years of marriage. I recognized the slight huff as he lifted the camera and the way his breathing changed when he was problem-solving. I listened to the air flow from his lungs as he went about his work and pictured the way he pursed his lips while deep in thought. The tears came.

We take so much for granted with the people we hold dear. Their mannerisms. Their gait. The sound and cadence of their voice. We tacitly cherish those qualities, yet rarely give them any thought. For 14 years, I laid next to my husband in bed at night, quietly comforted by the sound of his breathing. Those times that he would snore, I preferred to forego sleep rather than have him move to the couch. Even when we fought, I wanted him near. Next to me. Sighing deeply.

In the creation story, God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the very breath of life. Whereas God had spoken the rest of creation into existence, man was different. God’s divine breath made Adam a living being.

I could hear the breath of life in that video—the wind from Craig’s mouth carrying the melody of his spirit. That haphazard scene of the living room couch reveals how his presence once filled our home, even when no words were spoken. I will listen to it again someday and cherish a sound I hadn’t much considered before. It’s a sound we should never take lightly, as each breath holds the essence of someone we love.

© 2019 Leslie J. Thompson. All rights reserved.

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

JOB 33:4 (ESV)

September 26, 2019   No Comments

Day 33 – Ordinary Things

Every morning when I walk into the bathroom, Craig is there. His shaving cream and razor blades and hair gel are in the basket on the sink. His T-shirts and gym shorts are still folded neatly on top of the dresser in our closet. His sneakers stand at the ready by our bedroom door, so he can put them on for his morning walk to the park.

I cherish these things and have no plans to move them — much less remove them — any time soon. A friend who lost her husband to suicide many years ago cleansed her house of all his belongings two days after laying him to rest. When she shared that recently, the very thought of it shook me to the core. Her experience was different, of course, and everyone grieves in their own way. But, I cannot fathom a home without Craig in every room. He is still very present, still very much a part of my every day. He is in the ordinary things.

Some may call this the denial stage. Grief has a recognizable pattern, after all, with denial being at the forefront. I prefer to call it anticipation. I am fully aware that Craig is not coming back. But, I am equally aware that I will see him again soon. Will it be in our three-bedroom house in the Dallas suburbs? No. It will be when I go to join him and meet our Lord in the clouds. But until then, I have his things — the ordinary things — to remind me that we do have a future together, a glorious future more spectacular than I could ever imagine. And to remind me that he is still very much alive, more alive than ever before.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

We have a living hope in Jesus Christ. Scripture says that we have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure. Although my heart is broken that my husband is in the other room and I can no longer hear his voice, I rejoice in the knowledge that both he and I will spend eternity in the presence of the King of Kings. As Craig wrote in his own epitaph:

Do not shed a tear or miss me for a moment, rather,
Trust in the Lord Jesus the Christ as Your Savior,
and you will join me soon in the Heavenly chorus of Worship of God Almighty.

Craig is here. His love fills my heart. His presence fills our home. And God speaks to us through the ordinary things.

***

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

August 8, 2018   No Comments