Thursday, August 16, 2012

Forgetting To Exhale

The closest I have ever come to a tornado was watching the movie, "Twister". The idea that you can see a swirling barrel of wind at the horizon and there's nothing you can do to stop it. An unpredictable weather phenomenon that you know will wreak havoc wherever it goes. Even if you hide from it, you will likely deal with its aftermath.

The other day I almost lost my mind. No, literally. I'm not sure I remember the last time I became that crazed, that out of control. It was triggered by my daughter playing the piano, or lack thereof. But my loss of sanity had very little to do with the piano at all and everything to do with the tornado I'll name "July" that barreled through our life recently.

"July" was a month to be reckoned with. I feel numb from it, the month a hazy mess. Suffering has a way of doing that to you. We lost two loved ones to cancer in July. Grief is messy, especially when you aren't ready for it. In a lot of ways I think we are just trying to survive right now. Scrambling for some piece of normalcy, a routine that's familiar. Loss tends to cover you like a dark storm cloud, making it hard to see.

And somewhere in the midst of sorrow and joy, wonder and questioning, I forgot how to breathe.

In a moment of stillness, trying to make sense of all the feelings I was experiencing, I realized I had no peace. Gasping for air but I'd forgotten to exhale. The glorious release, the cleansing exhale of air. I had stopped doing it.

The tornado we saw on the horizon in January, never sure where or when it would strike, came in with a vengence. And I was holding my breath.

Where do you find your peace? That quiet resolve knowing everything is going to be alright?

To be honest, I wanted this post to begin by exposing my weakness, but then I wanted to assure you how everything was turning out okay and I found my way to perfect peace. A nice little blog post package tied up in a beautiful bow. That's how I usually roll. I like to have everything "figured out". But as I was writing I can honestly say I'm still struggling to find the peace that passes all understanding and that's okay.

Yes, it was key for me to finally remember to breathe, deeply in, deeply out. But when I take in all that's happened, as I survey the aftermath, I still feel overwhelmed. It's a lot to take in.

Maybe "July" for us was just a reminder that we are not in control. Maybe "July" was a testing of our faith. Because irregardless of what has happened we have not lost hope. And because of our faith we have someone to go to with our pain, and there is great comfort for me in that. Maybe it's enough to know deep down that there is nothing the tornado could actually take from me that would matter, not my material belongings, not even my life.

When that tunnel of wind and chaos is coming barreling towards you and you look to hold on for dear life to something, I pray it will be God's hand. He will not let you go. He will not leave you in that dark place. He will walk you through it, one day at a time, as long as it takes. He is patient when we are not. The promise of God is not to make everything better as quickly as possible. He never said "follow me and I'll keep you from experiencing any pain". God says "when it happens" not "if it happens" He will be with you.

"When you pass through the waters, 
    I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, 
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze. 
For I am the Lord your God, 
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior"

ISAIAH 43:2-3

And I think, perhaps, I just found the peace I was looking for.

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Unknown said...

I've been thinking a lot about this concept of breath -- how it is meant to both sustain us in both a physical and spiritual sense. To breath in Him is to exhale self. More of Him, less of me.

Unknown said...

You are right, Jen! Breathing isn't just physical.

I just remembered a video I watched about breathing. Here's the link to the trailer:
It's definitely an interesting concept.

Thanks for visiting!

Jennifer @ said...

I really understand what you're saying here, how sometimes the peace seems like it's slipping through the fingers. Life can be really, really, really hard. And sometimes, it looks like it will never let up, like you're caught in the middle of the tornado, spinning. ... I appreciate your vulnerability here, and I pray God's peace upon you this morning.

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