Sometimes I just need to sigh. Bob says I sigh a whole lot, and asks me “why do you sigh?” and I don’t ever have a ready answer.
It feels like I have something inside me that needs to be exhaled.
Webster’s defines a sigh: emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling.
It is that “similar feeling” that I need to exhale. My soul needs to breathe and to make room for that breath I need to exhale.
In a study done at University of Leuven, it was suggested that, indeed, sighing acts as a physical—and mental—reset. When breathing in one state for too long, … the lungs become stiffer and less efficient in gas exchange. Intermittently adding a sigh to the normal pattern, then, stretches the lung’s air sacs (alveoli). This feeling may give one a sense of relief.
That’s it! A sense of relief, as I am resetting my breath. When life begins crowding in and there seems not a moment to stop and just “be”, I sigh. I reset not only my breath, but I reset my ordinary daily life and I make room in my soul.
I have been immersed in a Emily Freeman book, Simply Tuesday, where she talks about the need to create space for our souls to breathe.
My sighing is that relief that comes from creating space in my soul to breathe, allowing my soul to see into the ordinary.
In a culture that preaches hurry, importance, comparison, Emily has been inviting me to slow down, become aware, notice the importance of smallness, and to take the time to fill my soul in the stillness.
Sitting in stillness reminds me to release the temptation to control outcomes and to be loved in the presence of God and to breathe in His goodness.
It reminds me to weave in the practice of paying attention, to orient my mind to things that are, instead of only moving towards things that should be.
Sighing creates room for my soul to breathe, to reset my thoughts, to remind me to invite Jesus into the ordinary and into the moments.
Most of life happens not in the brightness nor the darkness, but in the medium light of an ordinary day.
Embracing the ordinary is what makes a faithful life. Sighing creates space in my soul to breathe in the ordinary. Christ said that the kingdom of God is already here, we simply don’t see it most of the time. Paying attention is hard when we fall prey to the world’s tempting “more, better, faster, greater” culture.
So I sigh. A sigh that opens my soul to take the deep breath of love found in the normal, a deep breath of grace found in the ordinary and a breath of mercy found in stillness.