Inky blackness surrounded her. A continuous muffled sound, never-ending, slightly changing, inundated her senses. But something new and different was forcing itself upon her, manipulating her body to an unknown place. The force so powerful she was unable to resist its strength. Without her consent she was being pushed through the darkness into the light. All pressure was released from her tiny form. She gasped, inhaling her first breath and let out a wail.
“It’s a girl!” A time to be born. . .
She was roughly dried and wrapped, then gently placed into waiting arms—her small body breathing: inhale, exhale—the gift of life.
The kittens mesmerized her; rolling, stretching, and tumbling over each other. The tiny bundles of fur had her full attention. Laughing gleefully she turned from the pet store window. “Mommy, can I have one?”
No one answered her question. In fact nobody was there at all. Circling slowly, her eyes searched the mall, looking for her family. She didn’t recognize any of the strangers passing by. Tears welled in her eyes, broke loose, and poured down her cheeks in torrents. Her chest pounded as fear took away her breath. Gasping, her body trembled, increasing her terror.
“Sweetie, come here.” Seemingly from nowhere Mommy’s loving arms wrapped around her left-behind daughter. “It’s okay. I’m here now.” A time to embrace. . .
Her quaking body surrendered into the safety of her mother’s arms. The gasps turned to gulps, then sniffles, and she could breathe again: inhale, exhale—the gift of presence.
Sheer, delicate lace from an heirloom veil covered her face as she stood before her groom. He slowly raised the veil, letting it fall backward into gentle folds. They exchanged looks of hope and passion, trusting their future to God and each other. For a moment, time stood still as her beloved took her in his arms and kissed her; the kiss she had long dreamed about. Her breathing stopped until his lips released hers. Hand in hand they took the beginning steps toward forever. A time to dance. . .
“Be still my heart,” she whispered to herself. Her breathing resumed as she took his arm, giving herself into his care: inhale, exhale—the gift of love.
Disease sneaked in, uninvited, and soon their life together would come to an end. His weak voice spoke slowly; shallow breaths in between labored words.
“I love you darling. You have been my joy. God has been our refuge and strength all these years. Let Him carry you now.” All strength was expended.
She kissed his leathery cheek and whispered words of love and hope. Seated beside him, she held her breath, listening, looking for the rise and fall of his chest. It was so slight as to be almost nonexistent. Sorrow overwhelmed her. All too soon she knew he breathed no more. She longed to go with him. Heaven seemed so far away. A time to mourn. . .
But against her will, her body and spirit began to breathe once again: inhale, exhale—the gift of faith.
There was no movement from her diminutive body on the seemingly too large bed. Loving hands touched her gently, then lifted in prayer. Dim light infused the room, giving a sense of peacefulness. Brilliant light would soon lead her home. A time to die. . .
Joy unspeakable filled her spirit. She took her last breath: the final inhale, exhale—the gift of eternal Life.