staying alive

Remember being born? Me neither. I definitely didn’t have much to do with making it happen. And then, outside the womb, taking that first breath, lungs doing what they were designed to do – designed not by me, I just got that whole package deal called a functioning body and, amazingly, it’s still functioning reasonably well though I’ve been using and abusing it for over fifty years. My heart pumps blood without me having to do anything about it. How many times has my heart pumped in just the time I’ve been writing this? I don’t know, but I know that I’ve never ever made it happen, and I wouldn’t know how to.

Dependent. From before I was born, and every moment of my life, I am dependent on God, who formed me in my mother’s womb and made my lungs take that first breath back then and has been making my lungs and my heart keep functioning so that I can stay alive.

In Jewish culture we have a tradition of thanking God for lots of different things in our everyday life – I grew up secular so I don’t even know all the different blessings, but I remember hearing that there’s a special blessing you say when you use the toilet, thanking God that all your inner plumbing is working. Which is something that’s easy to take for granted until it doesn’t work, and then we seriously appreciate it…

There’s so much we can easily take for granted – I think there’s huge value in pausing frequently to say “thank you”, and not just for the big things. Not because God needs my thanks, but because he deserves them, and because feeling grateful does me good – it reminds me that God loves me and cares for me! Remembering what he already has done for me is a great antidote to despondency, because it gives me hope for what he will do for me.

And it keeps me grounded. It helps me remember how dependent I am on God’s grace. It’s a great antidote to pride.

Without God’s grace I wouldn’t exist at all. There wouldn’t be a “me” writing this. That thought cuts me down to size, reminding me of my total dependence and vulnerability. And it fills me with gratitude for all that he has given me. For every time my heart has pumped blood in the past fifty three years. For every breath my lungs have breathed. Of course there’s plenty more – he has done so much for me, I could spend all day listing reasons for gratitude…

Questions? Thoughts? Talk to me - I don't bite :)

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