Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 17 - breathing part II - how J's lungs remind me of my soul.

The following comes off my care bridge page from a year ago.I figured it was worth posting here, too, as a follow up to yesterday's post.  (Only one bit of background needed: Think of a balloon that blows up, deflates, and blows up again. Our lungs are a lot like that. In these little ones who don't produce surfacant - a chemical that helps keep the lungs soft and supple - it can be worse.  It's like the the sides stick together, so it's like blowing up an air balloon for the first time. When a tiny sac in the lungs deflates, it takes a lot of effort to inflate again. Invasive breathing machines are necessary to keep those airways open, but they also are ... well... invasive, and can lead to other lung issues like chronic lung disease later in life.)
The nurse said micro-preemies either seem to struggle with digestion or breathing.  Jonathan seems to have picked breathing.  I think I’m much the same.
Two weeks, three days old. 1 lb 8 oz.

Jonathan’s lungs lack elasticity, the ability to move and bend, to allow air to move through them.

I have never had lung problems, but I can relate.  Soft and supple my soul is not.  I am not a sponge that soaks up light and life.  I would rather be stubborn and stiff than let air blow through this heart of mine.

I think of how many problems this has caused for me.  My stiffness does me no good. In fact, it causes more problems and heartache.  Jonathan’s heartache as a result of poor lungs is literal; mine is not, although it feels very realat times.

I think of a class in college, where a wise professor talked about ways to think about how God has saved us. Let's imagine we are drowning, in need of Christ. Maybe we conceive of salvation as him throwing us a life vest and us choosing to hug it while he pulls us in. Or maybe we think of ourselves as barely breathing, and he comes and pulls us out of the water and administers CPR. In one of the better examples of this analogy, we are already dead. We are dragged from the sea and resuscitated.

I think for me, I’m much like Jonathan.  I don’t need just a bit of resuscitation to set me to breathing on my own, I need air pumped into my lungs.  I think I'm a little worse off than Jonathan, needing constant resuscitation with little bursts of air between breaths to keep things open.  And if I fight against that air (as I’ve seen Jonathan often do over the past few weeks), if I don’t get that constant stream, my soul becomes increasingly firm, hard, unmoving and inflexible.
Holding on.

I may digest.  I’m good at knowledge.  But I won’t thrive, because my soul won’t bend.

I am grateful that the one who can touch my soul can also touch Jonathan’s lungs.  Because I don’t know why I’m alive, and I can’t quite figure why Jonathan is either.  But God works with us stubborn ones.  And he can soften what is hard.

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