I recently had a conversation with a woman who is a double lung transplant recipient. The transplant took place over 20 years ago and I had known part of her story, but there was a detail she included in this retelling that stopped me in my tracks.
She gave some facts about the disease, when she started feeling symptoms, and some of her feelings leading up to the operation, but her reaction when she was extubated (that was a new word for me; it’s when the tube they use to help you breathe during surgery and recovery is removed) was what hit me.
When that tube was removed, she remembered the deep breath she was able take. Deeper than any breath she could ever remember taking. She had been sick so long she didn’t even know how refreshing and energizing a deep breath could be.
At that moment in the conversation I stopped and thanked God for deep breaths!
You see, I don’t ever recall thanking God for that. For my whole life I have been negligent to thank God for the 23,040 deep breaths I take every day. For the over 8 million deep breaths I take every year. For the nearly half a billion deep breaths I have taken since I took my first breath.
I wonder what else I haven’t thanked God for?
As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving it would serve us well to thank God for the literally billions of blessings we so easily forget are blessings. For the miles our healthy legs have taken us. For the scores of music our ears have listened to. For the thousands of sunrises and sunsets our eyes have seen. For the pleasures of life that have brought innumerable smiles to our mouths. For the pleasant aromas that have wafted up our nostrils. For the spices and flavors and seasonings that have delighted our taste buds. For the gentle touches of loved ones.
For deep breaths.
Wouldn’t it be exhilarating to appreciate each deep breath like it was our first? To delight in every step, sight, aroma, spice, and touch and cherish them as if we previously couldn’t walk, see, smell or feel. How amazing life would be.
How amazing life is! So amazing, you might even say it’s breathtaking!
Todd Catteau is the preaching minister for the Park Avenue Church of Christ in Denison. He and his wife, Henriann, have four children and two grandsons. He is a native of Massachusetts and loves his Boston sports teams. His writings and links to sermons can be found at catteau.net. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.