Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gasping for Air

I have always been one of those "sports girls."  You know the type - played basketball and can actually shoot a 3, into lifting weights at the gym and not just doing the elliptical machine, still has issues with nail polish on my fingers - that type of girl.  I'm not sure if this is the reason why, but whenever anyone finds out that I happen to have asthma, they look at me with a bewildered expression and say something like, "Really?  You have asthma?"

Yes, indeed.  I have the thrilling experience of having my lungs swell to the point where my ability to breath becomes extremely difficult (to say the least).  I know that brain function depends on oxygen, but truthfully, whenever I am in the midst of an attack, my brain is working overtime.  Mostly, thinking about the exact location of my inhaler, and then thinking about how insanely silly and stupid I look, followed up by more self-conscious thoughts, then slowly thoughts that I really need to calm down.  These all happen within a matter of a second and then are re-thought over and over again.  It's quite the vicious cycle.

Having asthma is a bit of a problem for someone like me who has major issues in the realm of pride.  You see, I try again and again to do things all on my own.  I have issues, if you will, with letting things go.  So, to be reliant on an inhaler every time I want to go work out is extremely trying.  In recent years, I've tried to just do exercises that won't require that I take my inhaler - like yoga or pilates, even light jogging.  But every now and then, I begin to think that I am doing so well with my work out, that I try to add on more and more - and then the lungs start to swell more and more.  Before you know it, I am keeled over, feeling like an idiot - gasping for air.

It is in between the gasps that I am reminded that God created my lungs.  He is the One that I live and move and have my being in; He is concerned with every hair on my head, so why would every breath that I take be any different?  Way back in the day, there was a song called "Air I Breathe."  It's funny what a simple lyric will do for a girl with asthma; but hearing that "This is the air I breathe, your holy presence living in me," did wonders for my prideful, asthmatic psyche.

Now for the abrupt shift - my mom died.  In fact, it is now just a little over two months ago that I received the phone call from my uncle telling me this.  I am not exactly sure what the grieving process is for other people, but right now, for me, I feel like I am stuck in a permanent asthma attack.  I spend a lot of my time gasping, and being stuck in my prideful state thinking that I can get myself out of this one; I can fix it; I can stop gasping for air without the help of anyone or anything; I can do this on my own.  It's a lot of silliness, really.

I know that every day is one day closer, time is the healer, and all of the other such timely phrases.  It is actually realizing this every single day, physically making a conscious effort to know that God is not only concerned with my ability to breath while I exercise, but that He is concerned that I am not gasping for air while I grieve.  We never suffer alone, we only feel like we do.  He is not far off; He is not stuck in some cosmic conversation.  He is near, ready to bring Joy in the morning.