Dust Bunnies and Mud Bubbles

“A puddle repeats infinity, and is full of light; nevertheless, if analyzed objectively, a puddle is a piece of dirty water spread very thin on mud.” ― G.K. ChestertonManalive

Scripture tells us that God took a bit of dust from the earth, shaped a man, and breathed life into him. The breath of God—spiritus—brings the unliving to life.*

I have seen what this windy world conjures when its breath stirs the dead earth: dust bunnies and mud bubbles.


Flickr/KimCarpenter NJ/CC BY 2.0

Think of it: the unfelt swirl of worldly winds tumbles a little bit of nothing into almost Something—almost lovable, almost appearing to live, but in the end, as dead and unsubstantial as sloughed skin and shed hair, hiding in dark corners to avoid the light that would reveal its insignificance.

Or a belch of hot air from the darkness below, rising through the ooze of death and decay; expanding, swelling—a sphere of slime stretched thin around nothing at all, until at last it surfaces, glistening, distorting the Light, then bursting from its inflated lack.


Yellowstone Mud Pot/Wikimedia Commons/David Monniaux/CC BY-SA 3.0

I have been both these things, and now and then, a man. I know the difference. Too often I realize it too late, after I’ve tumbled into darkness or puffed myself with pride—but I know.

The wind of this world can move us, make us appear to live, but this is an illusion. God alone animates earth and ashes. God’s breath is the Holy Spirit, who loves us to life and lives in us. Come, Lord, breathe us into being!


*Microsoft Word autocorrected “unliving” to “unloving” when I first typed the word—that works, too.

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