Ordinary Beauty of Breathing

“There are days, or nights, or long stretches of weeks or months or even years, when breathing is the only prayer we’ve got.” Deidre Riggs

Our fall days are still warm and our a/c blows 24/7 but some days, nothing can soothe the inner soul as gently and completely as a hot bath.

I wonder if that is the mom’s place or refuge? The sound of the water filling the tub echoes from tiled floor and plaster walls and it drowns out sounds on the other side. You can lose yourself from the soundtrack that accompanies most of our lives.

This remains my retreat, even in a quiet house of two. This is where distractions don’t follow me and I sink in with the scent of lavender and vanilla and let its fragrance fill my senses.

bath water

The bottle sits on the side of the tub and I notice these words as I put it back in place:

Breathe deeply for best results.

This has been on my mind, how the best results come from breathing deeply and how most of the time my breath is shallow, just enough to get by. I hold in more than I let out and breathing deeply doesn’t happen when you suck in the air forgetting to let it go.

I accompanied a friends son to the hospital after an injury at a summer camp. In a game of 3 on 3 basketball, a sizable guy had come down on top of Wesley’s foot. His 6’2″ frame crumpled to the hard court in pain. As he was wheeled into the emergency room he was in agony, clutching at his foot, sucking his breath in but not letting it out.

“Breathe, Wes, breathe”, I’d say. The only thing I knew to say.

Years later it would be my cousin and I exchanging the command to one another to “breathe”. We weren’t in physical pain, but emotional pain creates the same response: we hold in and don’t let out.

In our backyard pool, our kids would compete with their daddy on how long they could hold their breath swimming from side to side. No matter how long the winner could hold his breath, eventually he had to let go.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Not short gasps, but the inhale that takes in the presences of Immanuel: God with us.

Deidre Riggs writes about God forming creation with the spoken word. Fish and fowl, land and sky, day and night were made from Him breathing the words. Deidre says,

We are the ones God Himself lifted toward His heartbeat, and we are the only

ones into whom God Himself breathed the breath of life.

I sink into this tub of hot water, lay my head back with eyes closed and take in the soothing scent of lavender willing it to usher me into a relaxed state. I consider the words of Diedre and the breath of God and that I can’t hold my breath forever. I have to let it out and follow the instructions on this little bottle of lavender.

Breathe deeply for best results.


  1. Annie Rim said:

    Remembering to breathe… It’s fascinating that we forget during times of stress. I have to remind myself of that while parenting… And, really when I count down for Bea to transition/listen/make a better choice, I’m really counting my breaths.

    October 22, 2015
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Forgive my tardiness in responding, Annie. It seems it’s not until someone says, “breathe” that you realize you haven’t been. I’ve always liked what Rob Bell says, that when we breathe, we are saying the very name of God: “Yah-whey” Maybe especially invoking his name when we’re counting down for the children and ourselves….breath prayers for grace 🙂

      October 25, 2015
  2. Gabriele said:

    I remember a song by Amy Grant with the words, ” Breath of heaven, hold me together.” Breathing is very, very, good.

    October 23, 2015
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Love that song, Gabriele. Just beautiful lyrically and musically. I’m missing your blog for a few days while we’re out of town for a family wedding. But I’ll be back to be encouraged by your words.

      October 23, 2015

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