Sorting by

Skip to main content

Seeing immediate distraction beckoning from the long porch ahead, I reach for the rail – then lose myself in a Wonderland of continuous motion. Here, glass and metal sculptures, rain chains, rocking chairs and wooden swings all move in answer to the winds crossing the bay. Translucent sea glass strung with bits of driftwood, colored wind chimes, copper crafted pine cones, spinning orbs, revolving crescents, and bobbing yard art sway and turn and dip around me on all sides. . . and I haven’t even stepped inside yet to see the art within the store.

Amidst that festive celebration, I pause and realize the sound and movement are just evidence of wind. Always arriving and departing, it ceases to exist unless it’s moving. The swirling jet streams circling earth, the transfer of layers of warm and cold air within an atmosphere that sustains itself in its protective envelope around us, all bespeak an order greater than that under our control. 

Even our thoughts, the essence of being, are carried in the air to give them voice that reaches across distance into lives and worlds beyond our own. The small simplicities of spoken greetings: “Hello,” “Hi,” are no less than miracles of idea, will, synapse, muscle – and the elusive wind of breath. 

Just like the wind, it is in the process of its spending that breathing is made manifest. With each exhaled breath we remain in continuous need to be refilled. As living beings, we are complex constant systems of exchange; whole conduits for nutrition, respiration, elimination, growth, and healing/replacement. And every moment of our living is filled with elements of those exchanges that are simultaneously spent and lost. 

Like wind, life passes through us in our sequenced opportunities to grow into the selves we have the will, capacity, and circumstances to become. As beings so inexplicably made, we each embark to search for our: identity, beliefs, ideas, fellowship, belonging, purpose, and fulfillment. 

And then, one day, both breath and life make their escape. Despite the meaning we have found, the truths and wisdom we’ve explored, the hands we’ve offered, souls we have become, our lives on earth come to an end. Surrounded by the pain of loss, friends and relations come to wonder, what kind of order wastes the magnificence of life on a road to sure demise?

Perhaps our understanding of the sanctity and magnitude of life is much too small without awareness of our nearness to the lack of the next breath we need to live; the knowledge that we, like the wind, are only passing through. 

Perhaps God knows we haven’t the innate maturity to enter the shared eternity that is offered and desired for us, without the first-hand lessons that the wind and its enlivening passage demonstrate around and through us — zephyrs, squalls, and cyclones; breaths, lungs, blood-flow, heartbeats, moments. . . lifetimes.  

Perhaps it is this paradox that sends us searching for our Maker, the source of the Great Mystery of love so vast and deep that it extends through all existence and creation. Even with our frequent focus on our own small winding path, our independent striving to survive, achieve, secure and enjoy our works’ rewards, God extends holy love to us. Somewhere, we mistook knowledge for wisdom, craving assurance and control, denying the mystery of trusting a love beyond comprehension. That love is fulfilled in God’s forgiveness of our urge to claim our lives. “He who would save his life shall lose it,” scripture warns in Matthew 16:25. Who are we to know what part we can play in God’s much larger plan, a piece of eternity yet unfurled? 

And so, we are offered rescue by the God who knows our weakness and who knows firsthand of sacrifice. God fills the emptiness found within us and invites us to join in the good labor of reaching out to the isolation of others who search for the wonder of knowing God too.

God gives us wind — apparent in the ringing wind chimes, carried clouds, the tossing waves on open seas, and the call of friends passing on the street.  And God sets us down on earth to live within the great order that exists just beyond our full perception, with discoveries waiting all around us at our attention’s every turn. Each discovery can change us, steadily revealing God further to us, the Giver of both grace and mercy that we, in turn, can share with others. And this invitation is extended to us to experience real, true growth by humble assimilation of God’s ways — wherein we can be, at last, made whole and readied for the gift of God’s desiring – our shared eternity. 

For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

Elizabeth McBride

Elizabeth McBride writes poetry, essays, and children's literature from northern Michigan. She is the author of Most Beautiful, a collection of poetry and prose about the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and surrounding area. A listing of published works is available on her website. Ms. McBride has a Master's Degree in Family Studies, is a Certified Clinical Specialist in Trauma and Loss in Children, is a Fellow of the National Writing Project, an Affiliate of Amherst Writers and Artists, a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and a 2019 Poetry Award recipient from Writer's Digest.


  • Steve Van't Hof says:

    Reading this reminded me of John 3:8. Thank you.

  • Elizabeth McBride says:

    Yes! All around us, surrounding us and observable through us and our actions in the world. Thank you!!!

  • Don Tamminga says:


  • John Kleinheksel says:

    Magnificent. Just splendid prose/poetry. I can see why you are flourishing.
    So evocative of the Holy Spirit and what “God” is up to in the cosmos, and in us humans.
    I was “blown away” by your essay and will file it away as one of the best descriptions I have ever read of the meaning of “spirit, Spirit.”
    Exhaustive. Comprehensive. Expansive. Reaching to the interior as well as the exterior of our existence here and beyond our bounds. Congratulations and best wishes on your many ministries! John

    • Elizabeth McBride says:

      Thank you so much, John!
      I am humbled by your compliments. My musing here is such simplistic discussion of THE most important truths of our existence. It even borders on interpreting God’s reasoning(!), but hopefully meets us where our faulty reasoning so easily gets tripped up: thinking of God’s supreme order from our perspective and purposes, rather than His. I am reminded of the immensely instructive verse found in Micah 6:8 “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” There are two things we do or practice – justice and humility. But we are to LOVE mercy. It comes first in God’s order. We can see it throughout His willingness to wait for us to come to a realization of His existence before He comes again to clean up our mess and restore the original order He intended. He asks us to even exercise mercy when justice wouldn’t say it was deserved. That is the God of Love who blesses us with His love. Incredible. Undeserved mercy. That is love. And we humbly follow, seeking to see through the eyes of mercy.

Leave a Reply