To Breathe

I had a very challenging posterior birth of our second son. The agony was beyond my comprehension and at one point, when the pain was wildly out of control, I started to hyperventilate. I was breathing so fast, but felt like I couldn’t get any oxygen to my body. It was terrifying. I needed my body to use oxygen, but it wouldn’t.

Sometimes I feel this same breathlessness during my normal days. There are moments when my day seems to spin wildly out of control, careening from one crisis to the next. Like by 7:15 when the simple direction, “please get in the car” has elicited a total meltdown and loss of all privledges for the day. Or when one child is throwing up in the car while another is waiting for me to come in to pick him up at his Sacrament Prep class and my husband is on a place to somewhere far away. Anyone responsible for taking care of others surely has their own examples. Despite wanting to live a recollected life, sometimes it feels like all the breath is sucked out of me.

These are days when I just need for my soul to breathe, but feel like I can’t, because I am so wrapped up in the crisis of the moment. These are the days when I need so much grace. These are the days when my prayers are aspirations. Breaths. Short prayers of supplication. To a Heavenly Father who knows just what I need. Oxygen for my unsettled soul.

St. Josemaria writes, “There will be other occasions on which all we’ll need will be two or three words, said with the quickness of a dart, ejaculatory prayers, aspirations that we learn from a careful reading of Christ’s life: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.” “Lord, I do believe, but help my unbelief,” strengthen my faith. “Lord, I am not worthy.” “My Lord and my God!”… or other short phrases, full of affection, that spring from the soul’s intimate fervour and correspond to the different circumstances of each day.”

Aspirations. Little breaths of prayer in those challenging times. To help me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing, to restore my peace.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • You have no idea how much I needed this, this morning. Thank you!

  • So beautifully and honestly said. The loss of control amidst the chaos can feel physical, as you describe. And those short prayers can make such a difference when there’s literally nothing else to fall back on. I try to remember the Jesus Prayer when I’m about to lose my mind – “Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” After about 10 repetitions, I finally find myself calming down enough to respond instead of merely react. (Of course, on the really bad days, I can’t even remember to do that.)

  • maryalice

    I think that this ties in nicely with the idea of the “hard breaks” that I am working on — alarms in my day that I am going to use to force myself to take that deep breath. One of the things I have learned in running is that you need to breathe deep before you feel winded, because it only gets harder the more you push.

    I have a friend whose mother used to shout “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” from the kitchen when the dinner burned or other things got out of control — the kids thought that she was prophane, but now that they are grown they understand that she was really begging the Holy Family for help!

  • Katrina

    Mothering Spirit, that’s my favorite, too!
    Tex, well said – sometimes we face seemingly impossible days as mothers! The physical toll can be very difficult.