Wind, Breath and The Blue Heron
Today’s post is by Kimberly Ann Borin
Recently, I had an experience that reminded me of the life-giving power of breath, the wind and the spirit of God. Each day, I walk along a road that winds around a large lake. On the road, the wind can whip across the lake making for a strong headwind, sometimes going out and coming back. One day, the wind was so fierce that I practically walked sideways leaning to the right, turning my face and body away from the harsh currents. As I turned away, I wondered why I was always so afraid to face the wind.
With that, I decided to see what I was missing. I turned to the left and felt the strong, cold wind on my face and neck. I opened my hands to feel the cool air and took in the sound of the rushing air. There was something freeing about facing that powerful wind, walking with it, and breathing it in. It had not occurred to me that the wind I often feared could teach me. The wind at my face reminded me of my freedom and my courage to face the winds of life and what lies before me.
The next day at church, we read the story of the Valley of the Dry Bones from the Hebrew Scripture, Ezekiel 37: 1-10, which states:
37 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Even though I have heard this passage before I was struck by the mention of the wind especially given my experience the previous day. I was also struck by the mention of the breath and how God used both to bring a valley of dry bones to rise up as a powerful, living, breathing army.
The passage reminded me of the life-giving power of breath. In my yoga class, my students use their breath to find inner peace and stretch their weary muscles. As a guidance counselor, my students breathe through their grieving, worry, or anger. As a retreat leader, my participants breathe into the moment and open to the presence of God in and around them. Ezekiel’s words reminded me that life-giving breath, wind, and the spirit of God, can heal us and bring life to our dry bones in the valley places of life.
The next time I was walking beside the lake, I noticed my friend, the Blue Heron. He was balancing on a rock that was surrounded by crashing waves. The Heron was facing the steady wind. The gusts were pushing back the feathers on his long, graceful head and neck. His elegance, strength, and ability to be present offered me healing, bringing life to my dry bones. The Blue Heron reminded me that we, too, can face the wind, breathe in life, and be a healing presence to those around us. Together with God we can all claim our freedom, greater life, and healing…and for this I say, Veni Sancte Spiritus!
Dr. Kimberly Borin is a School Counselor, Retreat Leader, and in training to be a Spiritual Director with the Shalem Institute. She believes that we can find peace and grace in simple ways, each moment. She has been a teacher and counselor since 1989 and holds a doctorate in Education, a master degree in Educational Leadership and one in School Counseling. She is an Ananda Yoga Teacher for adults and children and the author of the Laughter Salad series of books. You can learn more about Kimberly at: www.TheEncouragingWorks.com.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+37%3A1-14&version=NKJV, Retrieved on Saturday, June 27, 2015.