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.


  1. That's such a good illustration for how grief feels, even though I know everyone has their own grieving process. I felt like that when my "brother" died... he was a close friend that we had adopted into my own family and loosing him was like loosing family. I used to explain how I felt like this... I felt like the world kept going and life kept living, but I was standing still. Everything and everyone around me was moving, but I was behind one of those two way mirror windows looking through the window to a world that kept going and yet no one saw me standing still stuck behind the window. I was stuck while everyone else was going forward. Gasping for air as you said! I'm praying for you!

  2. Praying for you. May you be overwhelmed with peace during this difficult time.

  3. David and I continue to pray for you. Love you Steph...