Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Respiratory Systems

My lungs reach maximum capacity and then my chest relaxes. I can feel the cool burn of air against my nostril walls subside just as I take another breath. I imagine my head a little lighter, with a little less pressure. The thousands of blood vessels God sent running through my skull expand with each burst of oxygen; all my muscles relax a bit.

Somewhere I got the idea that I enjoy swimming. Not just splashing in the lakes during the summer, but actual freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly swimming. I took classes on it; when I went to the gym, I’d head straight to the pool. Once in the water, the echoes of people talking or patting along the wet floor sunk into shifting murmurs, worlds away. I only heard water in my ear. Goggles tight against my eyes, I pressed off into suspension. Soon my arms and legs took over, propelling me further down the blue tile lane. Water swished in my ear with every pull.

Then I needed air. For the first few seconds swimming was natural. Slow jets of air would slide through my nose, developing individual bubbles I could feel grazing along my cheek. Everything went without saying, without a thought. Effortless. But when my chest began to burn, my throat would join the revolution. My arms grew weak. My legs all but stopped kicking, kicking being their natural method of argumentation. Rising to the surface I turned my head and let my mouth and throat and lungs do what they do best before I interrupted, again submerging my face below the restless water-level.

After a few laps, once I’d battled my body long enough over regulating the very thing that keeps me alive, I appreciated liberty in breathing much more. The same way I feel after a cold. The same way I feel when I’m alone, in my room, with my door shut; only God with me. And although we don’t talk much anymore, I can breathe easy with Him.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I like this.