Forgetting to breathe {and Psalm 84.5 memory verse}...

Psalm 84.5

The winter days here on Pollywog Creek have been muggy, gray and gloomy - not the cool and sunny days we {and the snow birds who migrate south} have always known winter to be at the edge of the tropics. It's been a reflection of a grief I've been wrestling to shake.

The new year holds hard transitions before me, and my heart has been heavy with grieving the changes to come that taunt and mock my here-and-now joy.

The physical therapist straps two-pound weights on my ankles, and half way through her prescribed routine that stretches and strengthens the muscles and ligaments around my surgery-scarred knees, my heart begins to race and I realize I'm forgetting to breathe. 

A month ago, shortly after the last surgery when pain was at it's worst and it was all I could do to hold onto the walker and move from the bed to the chair, I'd listened to Mark Talbot's message on suffering
Losing perspective in suffering is stifling; it is like forgetting to breathe. More particularly, we Christians can forget that we are never alone, no matter what we are undergoing, because God is with us, just as he was with those saints who have been in similar straits before. Sometimes we are especially prone to forget when we are dealing with some chronic disability of our own or of one of our loved ones that seems to just be going on and on, with no end in sight. We need then, especially, to be reminded to breathe in the word that God has breathed out for us (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

The Scriptures record a lot of suffering because God’s people have never been free of it, not even from the kinds and degrees that can overwhelm God’s most stalwart saints. Indeed, when Job’s suffering seemed to him to be neverending, he actually accused God of keeping him from catching his breath (see Job 9:18, NLT). Yet his story finally conveys that, as awful as his situation was, much of what he needed to hear was something like this: “Breathe! Don’t panic! Slow yourself down! Don’t take everything to be as it seems. And don’t irrationally conclude that things will never get better.
As Talbot suggests, I begin to breathe - breathing out laments and breathing in grace. God is good and He is with me. I breathe deep, word-soaked breaths and my heart is slowed and strengthened for the journey.