West Virginia Morning: Exhale


This morning each tree and bush drips with liquid light. The earth is being baptized, washed clean for our Advent Sabbath. Last night I fell asleep to the gentle thrum of her scrubbing and this morning when I took Bonnie out, the air was all scent of earthworms.

Oh, how I love this beautiful earth.

This morning, I read this from Wayne Muller, “ … in the book of Exodus we read, ‘In six days God made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day God rested and was refreshed.’ Here the word ‘refreshed,’ vaiynafesh, literally means, and God exhaled. The creation of the world was like the life-quickening inhale, the Sabbath is the exhale. Thus, in a beginning, all creation moves with the rhythm of the inhale and the exhale. Without the Sabbath exhale, the life-giving inhale is impossible.”

I was up early, making a simple bread dough; left to raise now, waiting for me to tuck treasure inside and bake into goodness. While my family still sleeps, in a little bit, I will drive a soggy drive up to Charleston, back to the hospital where I work. It’s our annual Christmas party for some of our patients and former patients. Later, our Jeffrey is supposed to march in our little town’s Christmas parade with the high school band.

It is a busy, beautiful time. It would be easy to get caught in the inhale, to keep going and going and going. But today? I am remembering Mark Buchanan’s words about Sabbath being a heart attitude. Today, I embrace these responsibilities filling up the day with love. I ask God what he would have me learn from each encounter. I give out of the generous gifts that have been given to me.

Today? I exhale.

How about you?



  1. Lynn Morrissey says

    Exhaling right along with you in this world described so eloquently by you. We do a lot of deep breathing in my chorus, a lot of inhaling, and this brings me energy and life, and yet, there would be no beautiful music without the exhaling–without notes exhaled back to the One who has given us breath. And there would be no beautiful music, ultimately, without the rests. Music is not all notes, but strategically placed rests. I’m thinking, too, Laura, in this world, with its tensions and strife (it is not all beautiful), exhaling would help us to release stress and anger and bitterness and sin. Oh that we might exhale all of this and breathe in Christ’s newness and life and peace. I love what you have said here. Have fun at your playdates–partying and music-going.

    • says

      I love this metaphor, Lynn, of the music. Yes, isn’t music a beautiful metaphor for life? You make such lovely music with your life, my friend. I hear you singing from here.

      • Lynn Morrissey says

        Ha! My father (who had a gorgeous basso profundo voice) used to tell me that mine was good for cooling soup. All that hot, exhaling air! =]

  2. says

    Thank you for this lovely post. You’d think it was the opposite: God creating on the exhale and resting on the inhale. Lots to think about there. I hope you have a blessed and refreshing Advent and Christmas season. (Hope you sell lots of books too.)

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