Just now, I received an alert I’ve never received in my life before. It was a “Poor Air Quality” alert for our county. We’re supposed to limit our time outside. We’re supposed to understand that the air outside, for whatever reason, contains fine particulate matter that will aggravate people with respiratory problems. We are in a valley, after all. Perhaps construction vehicles or smoke from wood-burning fire places contributed to dangerous levels of inhalable pollutants. Who knows? I can’t see what’s in the air.
I think about invisible things that damage us—those unseen pollutants. What am I learning here? I think about limiting my exposure, finding places of fresh air, and listening to the wisdom of experts who see what I don’t see.
The spiritual life requires this kind of vigilance. We breathe in so much negativity, anger, and fear. We breathe in ideologies and impurities of all forms. I limit my exposure, I return to good fellowship and corporate prayer, of worship and rejoicing, and I listen to those who see what I cannot see on the path regarding temptation and danger of all forms.
I think about the alert systems of the human soul. I think of the Holy Spirit sounding that alarm–perhaps a whisper at first–that we’re in dangerous territory. Don’t breathe in this air. It isn’t for you. Move to new ground.