If there is no breath, nothing else matters

At work I teach new parents that they should place their babies on their backs to sleep. I tell them that babies breathe better that way. I also tell them they have less of a chance of the stomach contents going into their windpipe if they are on their backs. If they avoid getting food in their windpipe there is less of a chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Well, I knew all this intellectually, but I really couldn’t fathom the reality of it until I saw an anatomical drawing of a baby on her back.

Trachea above esophagus when baby lying on back

And then it all made perfect sense. If the airway has little chance receiving what may come up through the stomach during sleep, the baby will be able to keep breathing. It is a good thing because without breathing, nothing else matters. I can testify to that. My daughter stopped breathing many times during the first 3 months of her life. No one could figure out what was blocking her airway. I prayed for answers and finally the answer came. She had a cyst on her trachea (windpipe) that would inflate like a small balloon whenever it felt like doing so. When it occluded the entire opening of her trachea it looked like she was having a grand mal epileptic seizure. A simple surgery cured her. She is 30 years old today.

In Hebrew the name of God is YHWH (no vowels) so that it could not be pronounced. The Hebrews believed that God was so holy that his name should not even be spoken. According to Rabbi Lawrence Kushner (exempted from Ann Voskamp’s blog “A Holy Experience” 1-11-11):

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….

This word {YHWY} is the sound of breathing.

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.”

The name of God testifies to the essence of our breath. It is a reminder of the very God who formed us. Each breath reminds us, “For in Him we live and move and have our being,” Acts 17:28. We were nothing but dirt until God breathed into us. “[T]he LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7 NIV.

Whether or not you believe in the spiritual, each breath you take is important. Essential for this life. But, oh, how much more essential if you include God.

Be blessed,


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