A Breath

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,

the highborn are but a lie.

If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;

together they are only a breath. (Psalm 62:9)

A therapist once told me one of the good things about having bipolar is that no matter how you feel, you won’t feel that way forever. Your mood is bound to change. Depression, which seems to last an eternity in the midst of it, ultimately goes away. Mania, which seems to pass by like a bright blur will no doubt come around again when you least expect it.

One feature of my particular bipolar diagnosis is that I have what are called “mixed states.” I can be riding a manic high and suddenly be attacked by a wave of depression, prompting me to become irritable, aggressive, even suicidal. Or, I can be in the throes of depression and suddenly have a manic urge to engage in frenetic behavior – with no warning at all.

These experiences have led me to conclude I simply can’t trust my feelings. And I can’t base my commitments on my current mood. More than this, if I try to pin my hopes or plan my future on the passing status of temporal outcomes beyond my control, I am bound to fail and run the risk of becoming overwhelmed by my emotions.

The Psalmist recognizes that nothing on this earth lasts forever, and this is good news. Ultimately, the only thing we can depend on is the presence of God in our lives. God is stable. We aren’t. God is the Breath behind each breath we take. God will breathe life into us even after we take our last breath on this earth.

I find comfort in the notion that my moods do not determine my ultimate reality. They are just fleeting feelings that come and go depending on a variety of circumstances and chemical reactions. God, however, is the One (and only One) on whom I can ultimately depend to sustain me through this life and welcome me into the next.


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