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Breathing deep for myself first, then helping others

travel oxygen breathing airplane flight

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Jennifer Hubbard - published on 11/21/23

The young woman who once breathed deep the oxygen of life, had somehow evolved into a mother who was constantly catching her breath.

I have heard and watched the safety demonstration at least a million times in my life and yet, for whatever reason, on that morning the words pierced me. “In the unlikely event of an emergency, if you are travelling with children, place your own oxygen mask on first.”  

It has been a very long time since I have travelled with a small child. In fact, mine had just been tucked back into the second semester of his collegiate freshman year. Helping my son navigate this new season of life, I found myself lost in waves of my own nostalgic memories of the days when the world in front of me presented bedazzled opportunities and limitless possibilities.  

While excited for him, I found myself sad in the realization I was stepping into a new chapter of my own life, and I had no idea what to do. The young woman who once breathed deep the oxygen of life, had somehow evolved into a mother who was constantly catching her breath. 

When I had heard the instruction in the past, I wondered how it would be that I would not put my child’s oxygen mask on before mine. Yet on this morning, I realized how could I not. I think, in part, I was coming into the realization that in not breathing deep the oxygen of life intended for me, I had starved my heart enough to make it barely recognizable. 

I decided on that early morning: The following 12 months would be the year I would fall in love with myself. So 2023 was coined #2020(me). No longer would I stutter and stumble when asked about myself. My answer would be steeped in acute self-awareness and confidence. While I love that I became a patron at an art museum, trained for and ran a half marathon, painted my office the most perfect shade of robin’s egg blue, and learned how to roll out an impeccable pate brisee, in my heart, I discovered, that actions are not what define me. 

You see, part of my #2020(me) tasks included carving out time for quiet. It was here in the dawning day I discovered that the oxygen my identity desperately required was from the One who breathed it into my lungs in the first place.  

Instead of searching for me, I should seek Him. Perhaps if I can understand His love for me, if I can claim myself as He sees me, if I can comprehend how He loves me, my heart will respond in kind.

So maybe the year of #2020(me) is not ending as I anticipated and I abandoned the catchy #tag and failed a few challenges, but I am learning with each passing day that remains how to breathe deep the love He, not me, offers.  


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

The Human Being Fully Alive
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