It’s a wonderful experience when people clap and celebrate the fact that you’re alive! I got to walk the Survivors’ Lap again this weekend during our county’s Relay for Life: something I plan to do annually for the rest of my life.

While I celebrated 3½ years healed from cancer, there are cancer fighters, survivors and thrivers all across the spectrum. It was powerful to meet two women who have been survivors for 35 and 45 years, respectively. A few people there have lived through four different types of cancer. One woman next to me was celebrating just nine months since diagnosis.

Whether we’ve been through a medical crisis at some point or not, it’s amazing to be able to thank God for the gift of life! One beautiful way to express our gratitude is through Breath Prayer: breathing in each breath God gives us, and breathing it out into unity with all creation. It makes sense to do this, since the Spirit of God Who moved over the face of the waters in the Earth’s creation (Genesis 1:2) is Ruach – the “Spirit,” “Wind,” or “Breath” of God, Whom Christians know as the Holy Spirit. With each breath in and out we might think, Thank You, God, for / Your gift of life, or any other two-part phrase that comes from our soul. This is a beautiful way to do a walking prayer, expressing our gratitude with every breath we receive and give back to God.

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

See also: Cancer Lessons in Grace