There was a story on the radio the other day about an old Rabbi who is practicing his very last breath.
Nearly nightly, he describes laying in bed as he’s close to falling asleep, slowly breathing in and out, imagining them being his last breaths on earth. He is in the December of his life and he knows it, is trying to practice a lifestyle of embracing it. Some may think it morbid; I think it to be beautiful. Peaceful. Thankful.
And it got me thinking less about where we go (I already know where I’m going, some timeless and beautiful Place) when we pass, but more about what we leave behind. Call it legacy if you will, call it footsteps within which we will have left parts of ourselves and what’s been given to us. Soul prints on soul windows of surrounding loved ones, and others we met along the way.
In some ways, we cringe when we think this way, right? It isn’t that we’re being fatalistic, but it can be hard to grasp the good or the bad that we may remembered by. I am this. This is me. Oh the disaster I’ve left in my wake. But oh the beauty God has breathed into so much of us all too.
Regardless, it’s a meandering and very real fact that December lingers out there in the distance, with a quiet but sure voice.
She is calling out and asking us what we’re about, what we’ve learned, where we’ve gone and why and who and what we’ve become. This is something that we cannot let go of, because it does not let go of us.
I would that we could all live out the remainder of our seasons with the surety that what we leave behind is mercy. Patience. Laughter. Wholeness and trueness, hope and beauty and love, even and especially for the people who did not ever gain the right to it.
While I know it can seem inches to millennia out of reach to live like this… to be able to finally lay and breathe our last seeing these things in our rearview mirror… I want you to know that I believe in the breath of the Author of all things, God.
There is a place in the Bible in a book called Romans, that describes how God’s Spirit intercedes for us in ways we don’t perceive. We receive the answers to prayers we don’t even know we’re praying, because the groaning and depth of our need is so eternally pitched and we’re so occupied with ourselves, that we could never hear or recognize how very desperate we are.
It goes on to say that everything in our life’s happenings and more – the dusty, colorful and shiny, the scaly and shimmering is all brought in and woven together for our good… good for those who love God and are called by everything He is doing in, around and through us.
Do you see that? The breath of God is pouring into our story, and what He is intentionally forming there is life. He is continually breathing life into the places our own breath and even our own longing is not enough.
And so December whispers, come.
Because His breath is bigger, deeper, fuller, wider and profoundly more torrential in the hope that it brings.
I want you to know today that He even holds your legacy in His hands, breathing life and resolve there in the places where there is less than enough. It was the way you and I have lived, it will be the way you and I pass through as well.
Call it morbid. Call it legacy. Call it footsteps or soul prints on soul windows. I call it beautiful.
Photo: Jim Lane