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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Spirited’ as in… we are spirited human beings animated by the power of the Spirit, and we thrive by acknowledging that we are inspired, animated, and enthused by the Source of all life and that every breath is a gift.

On January 2, 2023, on Monday Night Football, an unprecedented tragedy took place. With 5:58 remaining in the first quarter, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field after tackling Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins and suffering a cardiac arrest.

The breath that was first breathed into him 24 years earlier on Wednesday, March 4, 1998, left his body.

Moments later, Bills athletic trainer Denny Kellington began CPR and, with the help of the medical staff, worked to revive Damar Hamlin as he received the first of a new lifetime of breath. By now, you may know that Hamlin was released and flown back to Buffalo after seven days at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

In his remarkable book, “The Great Conversation,” Belden Lane writes about breath: “Our first intense experience of the world comes through breathing—gasping for air. For the rest of our lives, this happens automatically, without conscious effort, handled by a respiratory control center at the base of the brain. We breathe an average of 28,000 times a day. But breath is more than a physiological function. It represents an interior, spiritual dimension of a life that is more than us. According to ancient wisdom, God’s breathing brought the first humans into existence, filling them with the “breath of life” (Genesis 2:7). Breath is a divine energy recognized across every religious tradition.”

Each breath is a gift from the Creator. That’s our starting point. Shifting our thinking from breath as something we take to a gift we receive creates a deeper rhythm of thriving in our lives. Damar Hamlin has shifted his thinking. He seems to be thriving. A lot.

Some questions:

:: How do you understand inspiration?

:: Where does your animation come from?

:: What crates enthusiasm in you?

:: How can you cultivate a sense of gratitude for the gift of your breath?


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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