I woke up the other morning with a feeling of drowning without air. Like someone was at my throat. Physically. It took me a couple of minutes as I sat up to realize that I needed to get a hold of my inhalers and that I was suffering the consequence of wearing a dusty mask the previous day – an exacerbation of asthma, as my bronchi refused to lighten up. Another couple of minutes and some salbutamol later, I was breathing freely. And Oh! What a relief that was.
Now any of you reading this who’s ever had to get a nebulisation to just help you take the next breath would surely agree with me this that there’s nothing that can compare to that sense of freedom of being able to just inhale and exhale freely again. (Yeah, I see you right there!)
‘Happy hypoxia’ is a term most of us would have heard by now with regard to the COVID19 pandemic. It’s a phase of this illness where you’re unaware of your body’s need for oxygen till you suddenly collapse . And then there’s the scurry of activity- ambulance, hospital, ICU, ventilation, desperately hoping for a good outcome- essentially disaster management in non medical terms.
As I looked around the other day, I saw a community of people who are running low on their sats, but unaware. Happy hypoxics. I looked at the mirror and a happy hypoxic stared right back at me. No,no… I’m not talking about a Covid hotspot. (In case you’d already reached out to my contact ID to find out what place I’m talking about).
I’m talking about the business of busy bodying. Now what I described in the beginning was a physical feeling I felt the other day, but there have been many days before that day where I’ve felt suffocated on the inside. In my mind. After the initial wonder of the lockdown forcing our usual selves to take a break from our regular busy schedules, and explore parts of our lives we never knew existed before, we have ( as human beings over centuries have done) ,adapted to the pandemic- to wearing masks, to learning to be distracted and busy within the confines of the restrictions. Scurrying about. Zooming in. Zooming out. Webinars, Classes. Deadlines. Plans. Worrying. Wondering. A feeling of doing so many things, being in so many places at the same time, yet essentially not really being significant enough .
Have you noticed that when you are working out really hard or even running quite fast, you end up holding your breath till the trainer (if you have one, or simply your brain) calls out – exhale? If you’ve not noticed it before, watch out for that now. You’re so into what you’re doing that your chest feels like it’s going to explode and you just have to breathe out. And then you wonder, ‘Why didn’t I realise that before?’
Sometimes our lives are like that. Most times actually. We scurry, we scramble, we strive, we struggle, we shuttle between things, we get so caught up in our frustrations of how things/ people should have been as opposed to how they have turned out….(You make your own list here.) And our chest is so full. We are so busy doing the good things we forget to seek out the best. We don’t see anything around us, except us and our fragile egos and we gradually run low on life – happily hypoxic, severely myopic.
With having to wear masks day in and day out , I’m sure all of us at a time like this, are more aware of every breath we take than we’ve ever been before. Oxygen is one of the most expensive medicines we offer in a hospital. When our body refuses to cooperate with the natural order (due to disease), we end up having to resort to this costly drug and pay that price to just keep us alive! But imagine the amount of oxygen we breathe in on a daily basis that is unaccounted for! Such is the Creator’ s extravagance towards His creation.
If only we could take it in. Freely.
Friend, is your chest about to explode? Have you been super focused on your miniature world that you’ve forgotten to exhale? Have you been running low on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control? Have you missed out on the Voice from the burning Bush because you were rushing to get water to put out the fire? (In your hurry to do good, you missed out on the best.)
Are you in that place? Are you a bomb about to explode? Or a breakdown just waiting to happen? Is it all falling apart?
Your Creator calls out to you today…
Let Jesus in- into those spaces. Into those confusions. Into all that hard work you’re at.Into your strife.
“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.“ (Psalm 36:9)
“I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear you say just
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to take it in, fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe “ (Jonny Diaz, Breathe)
Shall we, you and me, take a moment to revel in the extravagance of His love?
“There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”
― Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air