Thursday, November 1, 2012

Oxygen Mask

I imagine most of you are familiar with the following statement from the in-flight safety briefing on an airplane:

“In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will automatically descend from the ceiling. Grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you are traveling with small children, secure your mask before assisting with theirs.”

I used to think, “Well, duh!”  I mean, it’s human nature to put your own mask on first, right?  I just never understood this announcement…  that is, until I had children.  I now realize that this announcement is targeting one audience only: moms.  We crazy women who will jump in front of buses if necessary.  The ones who can transform into Mama Bear faster than Clark Kent turns into Superman if someone crosses our child.  Putting on your own oxygen mask first simply goes against every mommy instinct. (Stick with me here, even if you aren’t a mother or even female yourself.) 

After our tragedy struck in early 2009, friends, family, and strangers alike would tell me I needed to take time for myself, to engage in “self-care.”  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take their encouragement as insults at first.  As slaps in the face.  As one more reminder that I was alone and no one else “got it.”  How could I take time for myself (or even begin to want to) when John’s needs were so great and being alone with my grief was unbearable?  How could I put my oxygen mask on first when all the time in each day wasn’t enough to help John and get the job done?

As the months have turned into years, I now admit and actually encourage others as well that taking some time to yourself is very healthy and much-needed.  Meade likes to occasionally joke that we need to put on our oxygen masks first when it comes things like eating dinner, even if the little ones are equally ravenous.  All kidding aside, there is much truth to this advisory, especially when it comes to our spiritual health. 

So often we neglect our relationship with the Lord, even if it seems like we are neglecting it for “good” reasons such as serving others or helping a child with his oxygen mask first.  But as a friend of ours recently stated, we can’t save our children.  Only God can.  Additionally, we can’t save our jobs, the political situation, our bank accounts, our friends, or the sorrows we face.  But we can take time to commune with the One who can.  The one who is indeed mighty to save. 

Next time you hear that safety announcement on the airplane (or as it is relayed on a television show), remember that the Lord wants to spend time with you.  It may feel like you are pulled in a million different directions or that the world is crumbling around us, and, in fact, it may be.  But let’s remember to put on our oxygen masks first.

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, 
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
-Zephaniah 3:17

We had grand plans last night to attend the church festival around the corner from our house.  However, the boys have bad colds... but they dressed up anyway!  I love our little monkey and lion!

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