The story is a difficult one to tell. It was probably one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I realize I’ve faced some difficult circumstances, but this one left me afraid and feeling helpless. It’s a feeling that everyone dreads and it came so out of the blue.
Tommy and I spent a long weekend away over the Easter holidays. After traveling ferociously and frantically through NYC, upper state New York, to Niagara Falls, back to NYC, and on to Washington D.C. just a few short weeks ago, we were ready for a much slower pace and something fun closer to home.
We loaded up our RV. (If you haven’t visited Archers’ Adventures in Camping on Facebook, please do. You will be able to “travel” with us.) We beat the holiday crowd by leaving early the Thursday before Good Friday and we headed out to one of my favorite destinations – Galveston Island.
The drive out of town was relaxing since traffic had not begun to build up with Houston’s infamous commuter traffic. We headed towards the island and to Galveston Island State Park, one of our favorite camping areas close to home.
After setting up camp, which let’s admit isn’t difficult in a self-contained RV, Tommy and I made a decision to head down to our favorite spot in Galveston – The Spot. We made the decision to have a few appetizers, relax, and then share our usual hamburger. It’s a ritual we perform each time we visit Galveston.
This time the experience took a very different twist.
We were sitting outside enjoying the absolutely beautiful weather and sipping on our drinks. All of a sudden, Tommy got a very uncomfortable look on his face. I thought, “Maybe a tooth broke. Maybe he bit his tongue.” I leaned towards him trying to help assist him when he jumped up in a panic gasping for air. He couldn’t breathe! For no apparent reason, his airway was rapidly closing and he was gasping to get air into his lungs.
I immediately yelled for someone to call 911. Tommy kept pacing. I could see the panic in his eyes. I knew that I could not panic. One of us had to remain calm. I followed him around listening to him gasp for air and watching the panic increase. As quickly as the episode hit, it seemed to ease up. As the emergency personnel arrived, his breathing was back to normal.
The belief is that Tommy had a bronchial spasm.
God was good to us. God brought Tommy out of the episode after 3-4 difficult gasps. You know what Tommy did? He kept apologizing for ruining our evening. That’s my Tommy!
“Just breathe.” It’s a phrase I use often when others are struggling. It is a way that I use to calm myself. I just breathe. I know you know the feeling. Everyone knows the feeling. Those times we feel so helpless and so out of control that we forget to breathe.
We must teach ourselves to enjoy every breath. Breathing is such a reflex that we often don’t thank God for the ability to breathe and to keep breathing. This weekend showed me the reality that every breath we take could be our last. I want to wake up each morning filling my lungs with air thanking God for the ability to just breathe.
One day on Calvary, Jesus Christ drew His last breathe and then said, “It is finished.” As long as I have air in my lungs, I will remind you often that Jesus drew that last breathe for us. He stopped breathing allowing us the opportunity to breathe eternally.
Thank You, kind Lord, for restarting Tommy’s breaths. Thank You, Lord, for emergency response personnel who show up in our lowest times. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life that I continue to enjoy with each passing day. Thank You, Lord, that You were there when I took my first breath and will remain until long after I take my last one. Thank You, Lord, for Your willingness to stop breathing so that we could start living in complete love and fellowship with You. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
*The artwork entitled, “Just Breathe,” is copyrighted along with this blogsite.