How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.” Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. Daniel 10:17-18 (NIV)
Another day spent running ragged. I left the house at 7:30 this morning and did not return until almost 9:00 at night. My day was full of highs and lows. We are finishing up the budget year and beginning a new one. It is the beginning of our season as school tours have begun and tourists will soon arrive. I solved problems and planned new programs. Established new budgets and justified old. Took an employee who is being laid off to lunch and tried to console her. Attended a United Way meeting designed to inspire me to give more. Met with a non profit board on which I serve and talked about fund raising. In the midst of it all, I got my hair cut, ordered t-shirts for an upcoming Sunday School class event and went to a meeting at church. When I got home, my head spinning with all the decisions I had helped make, I still had to take care of my horse and feed the dogs and rabbit. Finally, I opened up the refrigerator door to get a plate of leftovers for dinner. My hand met empty air. Youngest son ate them for an after school snack. Strength gone, I sat down. I was done. Ready to give up. I realized that I my respiration was very shallow. I was so weary and tired, I actually had to remind myself not just to slow my breathing down, but to even to inhale. It reminded me of something I recently heard about manatees. They do not breathe involuntarily. Each breath that they take is a conscious decision on their part. They can go for up to twenty minutes if they are sleeping, less than that when awake, without taking a breath, but they must choose to go to the surface and breath. Sometimes, I get so busy in my day that I forget to breath. I have to make a choice to allow time to enjoy life. To notice the sunset, to feel the wind. I have to look beyond the immediacy of my work and build relationships, really listen. What good is life if I do not pick a flower, watch the flight of a butterfly or laugh at the antics of my dog? I might as well be a robot rolling along from one job to the next. Without time to rest and relax, I lose my strength. I cannot breath. I might as well drown. The verses above are found in Daniel. Some scholars think that the man referred to is a preincarnation of Jesus himself. Daniel’s strength left him when he saw a vision of the future and all that it would bring. He is overcome with emotion at the thought. Yet, the man touches him, gives him breath and Daniel is restored. When my day spins out of control, when problems overwhelm me, and I think there is no hope, if I turn to my Creator, He will breathe new life within me.