Oh, for the love of a good, deep breath.


She told me that she found him sitting by the side of the road. Everything within her screamed to drive right past him, but she found herself pulling over instead. She found herself getting out of the car and sitting down next to him. She found herself getting to know him. She then realized she also found herself right there beside him.

They had lived totally different complications, but they were now both drowning in them. Disastrous childhoods … constant failures … feeling unknown, invisible … misunderstood. They were both numbed by disappointment, hardened by rejection, and totally jaded with rebellion.

He was sick, though. Pretty much always had been. Couldn’t work – couldn’t do much of anything. His lungs were too weak. He couldn’t get enough air. She didn’t mind. Helping him didn’t scare her at all. She really needed to take care of him. She couldn’t stop herself. She just needed to take care of him.

Since that day by the side of the road, they had both gotten better. So very much better. She had stepped in to help him with his health, he had filled a giant hole in her life. He helped her finally feel safe and protected, she helped him finally feel able and strong.

But now we sat in his hospital room three years later.

He’d been sick again. Very sick this time. He’d been a patient of mine several times over the last few weeks and, by this point, they’d told me all about their story, and they also knew a bit of mine. We understood each other. I thought.

He’s finally better now. As better as he’s ever going to get, anyways. The doctors agree. They agree. We all agree. After several weeks in the hospital, the time has come for them to go.

We were discussing his discharge.

The problem is that he needs extra help now. What she gives him simply isn’t enough anymore. His body is not getting nearly enough oxygen on its own. Not even close. The couple argues with this – he feels fine, they both say. He’s not even the slightest bit winded.

Our numbers don’t lie, though. Neither does his gray skin and blue-tinged lips. We know that no matter how he may feel, his body is slowly being suffocated. We see it.

For us, the answer is simple: he just needs home oxygen. Problem solved. That’s all he needs to go back out there and live his life.

But that’s unacceptable to them. Their life is complicated, they say. Oxygen tanks simply won’t fit into it. They just won’t.

Amazingly, they refuse. And they both emphatically reject the idea of changing their lifestyle to accommodate the equipment. Emphatically.

I was dumbfounded. Surprisingly speechless, in fact. They were actually refusing the air he needs to breathe. Both of them. Refusing. I found this incredible. Still do.

Doctors arrived. The debate continued, emotions escalated, and thankfully, my shift finally ended so I could escape the tension. By the time I went back four days later, they were gone and I never found out what they actually decided.

But, I keep thinking about their anger, still confounded by its intensity. How DARE we tell them something they didn’t want to hear! They were offended, outraged even. They yelled. They denied. They argued. She even violently slammed the door as she stormed out of the room at one point.

All because we wanted to help him breathe.

All because they didn’t like what was happening.

All because it was going to change things.

And they didn’t want things changed.

Life as they had known it would now most certainly be different. No matter which choice they made. Things were changing. This was fact. And this fact was terrifying for them.

Hence their anger. It was simply a veil for their fear.

This seems to be an epidemic lately, though, doesn’t it? Have you noticed? Our society has become saturated with fear. It may be hard to see because it’s so neatly shrouded in all the misplaced anger, but, in actuality, it’s all rooted in despair.

People are just afraid.

We’re suspicious, paranoid, riddled with dread. We’ve become perpetually offended, outraged even. We yell. We deny. We argue. Throw insults. Throw punches. Throw worse.

But really we’re all just afraid.

It’s so sad we react this way. As a woman of faith, I have a place to rest my fears, but my heart hurts for those who don’t. I see the despair flash in their eyes, I feel the pain hardening their hearts. Drowning their hope. Closing their minds.

I may not agree with this couple’s bizarre refusal, and I may not agree with the violent protests everywhere about absolutely anything and everything, but I do recognize that the feelings behind all of them are valid.

People are truly afraid. Of change. Of unknowns. Of so many things.

My prayer, though, is for them to know our God. To truly know Him. To hold him so tightly in their hearts that, even when changes come we trust that everything will absolutely and undeniably ALWAYS be okay.

All because our God … our Abba Father … the Creator, Giver, and Sustainer of every, single breath we take … is never surprised, never distracted, and never, ever knocked from His throne. Take a long, deep breath and remember that He still reigns, my friends. He still reigns.

Thanks for growing with me.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you …” (Ephesians 1:17-18)



2 thoughts on “Oh, for the love of a good, deep breath.

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