Counting Breaths

GIF via Giphy.

GIF via Giphy.

I used to have trouble with counting. Not with math. I was pretty good at math.

Counting was my way of making things normal again. Someone made fun of my weight that day? Count the tiles backwards from the corner, skip one and start over. A “friend” said that no one would ever love me? Hold my breath until I forgot about it. How should I drown out the insults from the bully sulking in the corner? Organize eraser shreds until they made sense again. Count from ground zero.

The closet was always perfectly organized–summer, winter, fall, spring, and color-coordinated besides. My desk had to be perfectly in order, books stacked a certain way and alphabetical, of course. Pencils lined up by height, sharpness and general preference. Nothing out of place.

Life is messy. I thought I could control it by the routine of my outfits and the order of my breathing. I hated the very idea of imperfection. We usually don’t have a choice. We fail. We say things, do things at the wrong moment.

We forget to breathe as we’re counting breaths. Perfection has its cost.

There are so many things I want to complain about right now. Perhaps I just need to be a bit more creative and embrace the mess. This back ache? This back ache is me growing a backbone slowly and painfully. I’m learning how to rise up to occasions properly again. The intensity? It can be called passion.

Life is messy, but it is still life. Just last week, I saw a woman faint and fall off her scooter at a major intersection. In the middle of rush hour, in the middle of small talk, in the middle of routine. Terrifying. Miraculously, she began talking again, but there were a few terrifying instances where it looked like she might not get back up at all. Life is messy, but always beautiful.

No matter how much you get the temptation to count down on yourself, count instead on Life. Life lived to the full. Maybe, then, the things which seem so messy start to make sense again.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV

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