Home > Poetry, Purpose and meaning of life > How many breaths do I have left?

How many breaths do I have left?

October 13, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

my sister Katherine next to her beloved van

How many breaths do I have left?
I always assume “just one more.”
And, do I assume or hope that I can decide when the last breath will be?
Jesus did but I am not Jesus.
Neither is my sister.
How desperately she wants to breathe her last breath.
But the breaths keep coming.

Why does God not allow us to decide when we breathe our last breath?
Maybe he wants us to learn at the end that we are not in control.
Never have been.
Never will be.

How many breaths do I have left?
Just one more until God says “enough.”
Just as he has my days numbered.
So my breaths are numbered.
Counted each one.
Precious.
Valued in his sight.
May I value each one.
May each breath I take honor him
And others around me.

Thank you Lord for the days you give us on earth.
For the breaths we receive.
Each one as a gift.
Help me trust you
With each breath I take.
And with each one that is to come.

Update: I wrote this as we sat with my sister, Katherine.  She breathed her last breath yesterday Oct 13, 2011 at 1 pm.  For more information on my sister, you may watch a video here in which she talks about how she lived out her simple lifestyle or read about her artwork or view her artwork on her webpage.

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  1. doris
    October 14, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I have been thinking about this ever since you shared the first few lines, before you answered the question in the rest of the poem. I found myself really feeling my breaths, and wondering what it must be like to struggle to breathe (as I have on a few very short occasions only). As a result of this reflection, my faith has been strengthened. I think more and more, I don’t want to be the one in control so much, even down to my last breath. It is restful.

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