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I love you, both of you
Having Covid made me think about my lungs. That’s where those microscopic hitmen settled down and took up residence. They’re like the gunslinger who comes into the saloon, looks around and says, “You know, I’ve always wanted a place like this.” When I had the worst of my symptoms, I was coughing deeply, the breath coming in and out parsimoniously, like it was being rationed. I could feel Covid’s hold on my lungs, especially on the upper part. Now, almost a month after I got Covid, thanks to having been vaccinated before its arrival, my lungs are much better, but still aren’t 100%. I don’t know what percent they are, but the virus still has a say.
Yes, Covid made me think about my miraculous lungs. Nothing will focus your mind on a part of your body like a malady. It’s hard not to think of the lungs as we watch the patients on ventilators or oxygen in the ICU units. It’s different when you have it yourself, though. Bringing it all back home, as Dylan said. Not that my situation is remotely as grave as the poor people in the ICUs. Nevertheless, having Covid made me think about my lungs quite a bit. And the miraculous job they do.
I say miraculous—i.e., it’s a miracle—because if what they do isn’t miraculous, then what is? Our lungs should be given sainthood. (Our entire body, actually.) Saint Pulmonary even sounds right. I’d have no trouble worshiping him or her. Think about how we breathe, how this pair of bellows swells and releases continually. The air that we breathe in is, somehow, conveyed to our bloodstream. Then we release carbon dioxide when we breathe out. You know this. But do you know how? I don’t. All done so quickly, efficiently.
Now here’s something I don’t understand. The lungs introduce oxygen into the bloodstream. But if we don’t get enough air into our lungs—say, if we’re underwater too long—we die. Doesn’t it seem like we need just need air, pure and simple—not air in our bloodstream? Can somebody explain this to me?
In any case, I am now quite aware of my lungs because of my recent Covid encounter. Yes, I’ve been aware of my lungs from time to time all my life. Sometimes because of a disruption. But sometimes simply because of the pleasure and release they give 24/7 and the unstinting labor they do. Plus, it feels so good to take a big deep breath of, say, morning air. To hold your breath and close your eyes and think—of nothing.
Listen to what it says in the Bible, Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” The breath of life.
I see my chest rise and fall. I’m so thankful for my lungs, which have served me faithfully and wonderfully, Like everyone else, I’ve had the flu, bad coughs, etc. Nothing life-threatening. I smoked for years, like an idiot. My beautiful lungs tolerated that, though it couldn’t have been easy. How would you like to cook in a smoke-filled kitchen every day of your life?
I know there are some for whom their body is a burden. They have a body that has turned against them. I know how lucky I am.
Everything about the body is a miracle, down to my little toe. Think of what we inhabit!
My lungs, I am so grateful.