People usually think drowning is caused by a lack of air due to the person being unable to breathe in, but it is actually the opposite.
We drown because we can't breathe out.
Really! The technical explanation is that carbon dioxide levels rise in a person's blood when they can't exhale, burning their lungs from the inside.
The reason people underwater want so desperately to breathe is because of the pressure it causes: not to let air in, but to let the poisonous carbon dioxide out.
I don't know about you, but I confess that at times I feel like I am suffocating at Church.
It's not just the fact that we get what Clark Burt refers to as "the pulpit preaching of platitudes" and dogmas.
It's because there's so much I want to let out of me! I want to praise God and to sing and pray with my arms raised and to dance between the pews like David in the streets and to rejoice with my brothers and sisters in the majesty of Christ and to exalt His name . . .
. . . but instead we're told to sit in wheelchairs and get shuffled around like patients in a convalescent home, told to "stay in your lane. Swallow your pills. Don't step in that steaming hot pile of purview!"
Give God a Breath Mint
As a boy I visited my grandmother in Oregon every summer. We would spend a week on the coast, staying near Depoe Bay (smallest bay in the world and a great place for whale watching). I looked forward to going to Beverly Beach where I built sandcastles and where my mom would always warn me to watch out for dangerous undertows.
Well, her advice still applies. Spiritually, there are currents seeking to pull us down, backwards, into the captivity of carnal commandments.
Christ to the rescue: Christ condescended, leaping off his lifeguard pedastal and jumps into the waves, catching us, and swims back to shore with us in His arms.
The law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end.
(3 Nephi 15:5)
An end? I guess people just really don't want it to be over. Because we keep returning to the law (the lesser law, like tithing) like a dog to its . . . you know.
Now our lifeless body is laid out on the sand, slimy with seaweed and pale as a corpse. God leans down and gives us CPR.
But when God administers CPR to us, He does not place His lips over ours.
Instead, divine CPR is administered Mouth-to-Nose:
And the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
We sputter and vomit salt water. In the Book of Mormon Jacob makes an allusion to this that is so subtle we will miss it if we blink twice:
For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, . . . and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.
(2 Nephi 9:26)
Notice it says we are "restored" to God (or I guess we could say, "resuscitated" to God).
We're getting the idea, I think, that being a "living" soul requires us to take into ourselves the Breath of Life. But what does the Breath of Life represent?
And why does the Breath of God have the opposite effect upon the wicked? Isaiah tells us:
And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
It seems like the scriptures are teaching us that the righteous are "righteous" for no other reason, apparently, than they breath in the same air as Christ exhales.
But the wicked? That same air is toxic to them.
I Didn't Inhale
We find in the Book of Job (of all places) this fascinating reference to breath and noses:
My breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils.
And Job quotes Eliphaz who says:
By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.
When we inhale, our lungs carry oxygen into our bloodstream. But we exhale carbon dioxide and are powerless to convert that gas. I mean, we cannot not breathe, right? So every moment of every day we just walk about, polluting the atmosphere with every breath, our carbon dioxide leaving our lips. It is a fact. It is universal and indiscrimate. It is just part of who we are.
It requires plants and trees, through the process of photosynthesis, to take that carbon dioxide in the air that we've exhaled, and to convert it back into oxygen using the sun.
That's right. Are we seeing any spiritual parrallels yet?