~It begins when we are children. If something scares us or hurts us, the first words of comfort from our parents were almost always, "Slow down and take a deep breath."
Medical personnel, particularly those treating trauma victims, often start out with the same advice to their patients. It's the first step to helping the patient to lower their pulse and respiration; but, I would counter that there is probably some emotional comfort in hearing those same words that our parents uttered when we needed to pull ourselves back together after something bad has happened.
I've watched coaches give the same advice to their players. They urge them to take slow, deep breaths, to calm down and focus on the situation. It doesn't matter if it's baseball or one act play, the same words of comfort and the same techniques work wonders.
The last couple of weeks in Mason have been days filled with situations that have taken our breath away. First, we learned about the horrible accident in Coleman involving Rebecca and Ryan Schuessler. Our heads were spinning trying to make sense of it all,,, we felt our hearts sink and we heard the rushing of blood in our ears,,, and we tried to catch our breath.
On Sunday morning, Pastor Colleen walked down the center aisle at church as service began. She set her jaw, then she began telling us the news of Ross Lehmberg's loss the night before in Conroe. You could hear the air leaving the sanctuary as the impact of her words took hold on people who had watched Ross grow up in Mason, shared meals with Mark and Judy, played tennis with Roy and Jean,,, been part of the Lehmberg family in ways both large and small.
There is a comfort in having learned bad news while sitting inside the church. During a time in which we've come to praise and to worship God, it is comforting to have his peace so close at hand and so enveloping. But, even in that situation, I still had to remind myself --- "Just breathe."
There are not words of comfort that are appropriate when a parent loses a child. There are no platitudes that can make everything better, no embrace that can fill the holes that remain. There are several parents in Mason County who have lost children. They have told me over the years that it is a pain that doesn't go away; but, it does slowly dull as the years pass.
And then, you see something from the corner of your eye. You hear something in the background of the daily din. You catch a scent on a breeze blowing through the house. And you lose your breath all over again.
But, the first thing to do, the first thing we all need to do when horrible things happen, is to breathe. We need to stop talking, stop moving around, stop hurrying about. And, just take a slow deep breath. Take it in, hold it for a moment, then slowly let it out again. And then, breathe.
It doesn't solve any problems. It doesn't provide any answers. It doesn't ease the pain and it doesn't put things back the way that they were.
But, it gives us the time we need to start remembering. It gives us the peace we need to start accepting. And, it gives us the strength we need to start healing.
I ask you to join me in raising up prayers for those who have suffered in the last weeks, and to ask God for comfort and understanding. I urge you to be supportive and loving in all the ways that the people of Mason are so good at being.
And, I ask you to slow down and to breathe. Take a deep breath, then begin moving forward.
It’s all just my opinion.