UnknownOne of the most exhilarating experiences of my life happened when I was a little girl, skiing. My father and I had gone to the top of the mountain. The chairlift carried us soaring over the trails, over the trees, up to the height where the trees became stunted, twisted, ice-coated, shrubs out of fairyland, until finally we arrived a the top, a bare expanse of snow above the tree-line. My father turned and began to go down the slope, crossing a broad open area. I tried to follow him, but the wind was blowing in our faces, and it was so strong that I could not descend the slope; the mass of my small body was not sufficient to propel me down. As I stood there in wonder and frustration, the wind actually started to push me back up the hill. I could only laugh and stay there (freezing) until the wind shifted direction.

I think of that time often when I go on retreat. The place I like to go, Emery House, is located on the banks of the Merrimack River, and there is a path that wends along the bank of the river, and a point where the land juts out and the wind comes soaring in, and always I find my feet turning me toward the very tip of that land, where the wind comes surging past and I raise my arms and face into it and feel that I am being washed clean: clean of sin, clean of weakness, clean of grief, renewed and ready to take on whatever  comes.

At the very beginning of creation, God bent over the formless void and breathed God’s spirit upon it. That word, “breathe” is ruach: 76Bereshitspirit and breath, and so Christians have come to associate the Spirit of God with a mighty wind, like the one that tore through the Temple on Pentecost, set beards and hats to flying, and hovered over the disciples as flames of fire and wonder.

If you’ve ever been in a strong wind, you will know there is only one thing to do: lean into it. Let it carry you, even. If you try to hide from it, shelter yourself from it, you will only be knocked down. The wind itself will hold you up, if you allow let it.

Where do you feel the Spirit in your life? Where is it pushing you in new directions? Listen to it. Pay attention. If you lean in, if you meet it where it is, you are assured of a wild ride. But if you do not, the Spirit may pass you by and make someone else alive. For the wind of God blows through each of us, but it does not blow forever. The time to respond is now.Unknown-1


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3 Responses to Ruach

  1. the Breath of God is the Aghio Pnevmatos or Holy Spirit. I wonder if God breathed actual wind into Adam and Eve or if He breathed self into them?

  2. You have to allow yourself to be formed by the Bible in order to read the Bible. But in order to do this, you have to live from inside out of the Bible. In other words, you have to breathe very Breath of God in Scripture and speak its poetry. You cannot live from the shell–that is from what is said in the Bible here and there and stay in your own breath. You have to Breathe the inner Spirit and then live it out. This is very hard hard hard. I decided to live within the circumscription of poverty in order to do it. Bless’ed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.

  3. Kathryn Bouve says:

    Deborah –

    The same thing happened to me one time! Site was the top of an ice-covered unforgiving mountain at Killington on a very cold and windy day. I tottered at the brink, but the wind held me back. I leaned out farther and farther until I ‘took wing’ and floated down to a nice snowy spot and the trail down the mountain. Whew!


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