Thursday, March 12, 2015

Breath

My kid had pneumonia. It made breath the first and last friend, the constant companion, that which quickened the dirt in the garden, a struggle to take in. It hurt him, it killed me. After the doctor’s visit, my dear wife took the kid home, and I went to the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions. I handed over the scripts and the pharmacist said it would be twenty minutes. Up until that point the day had been nothing but fear and rushing. Appointments were set up, schedules were adjusted, a child was watched with an unblinking eye. But then for twenty minutes I had nothing to do but wander around the brightly-lit store. I looked at items I would never buy, and thought thoughts that weren’t about life or death. It was beautiful. In that wandering there was comfort. When the order was finished the pharmacist handed me the medications in a brown paper bag. Taking it in my hand, I felt its material. I heard the crunch of the paper, and I was immediately transported to childhood, carried back to days of taking my lunch to school, it contents not albuterol and antibiotics, but peanut butter and hostess cupcakes. For an instant my senses brought me to a time without worries and fears. In that escape there was comfort. Eventually, my mind wandered to the contents of the bag. Medications, little tablets and vials of solutions, each proves the existence of illness and the pain that comes with it. Each pointing to the hope that the pain can be healed, that the horror can be kept at bay. In that hope there was comfort. My fears were largely unwarranted, the concerns of a newish dad thinking the worst. They were fears none-the-less, and that twenty minutes to wander, that brown paper bag, and those medications were comforts. Those in fear for the health and the life of their loved ones, caught up in the midst of a crisis do not experience the worry as a momentary thing. They are awash in it, buried under the swells of terrible thoughts half thought and the heaviest of worries. For them any reprieve from the pain is no small thing, it is the greatest of gift. Today give that gift. Allow all those who are worn out to wander from the bedside and realize that the world is larger than the sick room. Give them an instant to escape their fears. Take over the worry, and they can breathe again. Give them a hope for peace and an end to suffering. In doing so, you will add some comfort to this world. That is precious and a beautiful thing.

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