Sometimes you just have to breathe. When the journey takes such a jagged detour, and you lose your way, you just have to breathe. Breathe through the smothering feeling that screams you can't make it. When you sit by the bed waiting for death to take someone you love, and you want to hang on for as long as possible, you just have to breathe. When your heart is breaking in church every Sunday because someone is missing, you have to just breathe. Breathe through the tears. When panic overtakes you because things are changing, and the fear of the unknown is before you... just breathe. Just breathe. When bad news finds you and your life will never be the same... just breathe. When someone will be missing this year around the holiday table... just breathe. When you are afraid to grab the brass ring because you think you don't deserve to be happy... just breathe.
How is it that sometimes we forget to breathe? Our autonomic nervous system controls our breathing, and though we can change the rhythm or pattern of breathing, we don't have to consciously make ourselves do it. The breathing referenced here isn't necessarily the physical act of inhaling and exhaling, though sometimes it definitely can be, rather it is a figurative reference.
There's this song I love. It's called... Breathe (2am). It reminds me of the friendship DJ and I have. The specific situations in the song are nonapplicable, but the concept is Just So Us. One girl calls her BFF at 2:00 a.m. and says "help me fix this mess I'm in". We don't normally call each other at 2:00 a.m., but we doggone would if we needed to. Sometimes it's "help me fix this mess", and sometimes it is "my heart hurts", and sometimes it is "I can't take it any more". We remind each other that This Too, Shall Pass. It's not always just bad stuff, though. Sometimes life brings such joyous surprises that take our breath away... that we remind each other to slow down, and breathe. We remind each other that we are not undeserving of the good things that we are blessed with, and our past mistakes are just that.. in the past. We ponder the things we don't understand, we try to solve the problems of the world and hope to make life better for the ones we love. And at times, we remind each other to Just Breathe. Whether we're angry, sad, happy, afraid, confused... there is nothing we can't talk about. Sometimes we can offer a practical solution and sound advice. Sometimes there are no words to say. Sometimes we can fix each others' problems, but sometimes there is no solution. So, we just offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a heart to understand. And a reminder to breathe.
I posted a quote recently on my Facebook page that says "The best way out is through." I love this. Sometimes the "through" really sucks, but the "out" is always worth it. DJ and I have been friends since we were little girls. After we both married in 1980, we drifted apart for 12 years or so. We found each other again when I was going through my divorce, and all the hell that was my life at that time. When everything fell apart, it was almost like I needed someone to tell me to physically breathe. I couldn't do it on my own. During the week I functioned in a robotic-like state, doing what needed to be done. On the weekend, when Whitney would be with her dad, she would come to my apartment, help me pack my things, and take me to her house for the weekend. I was not good on my own. Sometimes she had to breathe for me. Slowly she taught me to breathe on my own again, and ever since, we have been reminding each other whenever the need arises. She was there for my "throughs", and has helped me to the "outs" more times than I can say. And through the times of horrific grief she has endured, I have reminded her to breathe, and at times breathed for her when she just didn't have the strength to do it on her own. We've been "through" a lifetime of joys and sorrows together. And we always come "out" stronger, for having helped each other "through" it.
Listen to the song here
You can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... Just Breathe.
(We can't change the past, and it doesn't have to dictate our future.)
There's a light at each end of this tunnel
You shout cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out
And these mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again
If you only try turning around
(The best way out is through.)
For some reason, today I am overwhelmed and overflowing with gratitude for this girl, this woman who helps keeps me grounded, and who reminds me to Just Breathe. I love you DJ!