‘O’ IS Very Important! … Hello weekend readers. I hope your foray into this new 2024 year is going well. As we consider the weather, the never-ending-wars popping up in our country, the cost of living, the continued gun violence, etc., it’s almost hard to come up for air! And that is my musings for the weekend, where do you “come up for air?”

Here is a funny story that happened with a Southwest Airlines flight attendant that has literally gone viral! When I read it I knew it was going to be put in a devotion because there is a LOT of spiritual under-tones in this cute story…here goes:

“ADJUST YOUR OXYGEN MASK AND breathe normally. If you don’t know how to breathe normally, just breathe as you normally would.” The passengers erupted in laughter as the flight attendant sprinkled his standard safety speech with some much-needed humor. Air travel can sometimes produce anxiety, and his comedic comment cut the tension.

After I quit laughing, my brain got stuck on his tongue-in-cheek line, “Just breathe as you normally would.” I said—out loud—how many times have I held my breath as if I did that the crisis would end? How many of you held your breath when you heard the doctor’s diagnosis, or the death of a family/friend, or your child says “I’m enlisting in the military, your boss says your job is going to take you to a new city? Breathless moments, right?

There are tons of instances where we hold our breath, the catch in our throat just hits us. I think of the disciples who certainly held their breath when Jesus told them he had to go to the Father in John 14:27-31. Using the J.B. Phillips New Testament, Jesus tells them:

“I leave behind with you—peace; I give you my own peace and my gift is nothing like the peace of this world. You must not be distressed and you must not be daunted. You have heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you really loved me, you would be glad because I am going to my Father, for my Father is greater than I. And I have told you of it now, before it happens, so that when it does happen, your faith in me will not be shaken. I shall not be able to talk much longer to you for the spirit that rules this world is coming very close. He has no hold over me, but I go on my way to show the world that I love the Father and do what he sent me to do… Get up now! Let us leave this place.”

So, you might have guessed the ‘O’ is the chemical symbol for oxygen and you are correct! Who of us needs peace, a place to breathe in and out and find comfort, stability, and most of all, assurance when troubles take our breath away? Like the disciples, we don’t want to see our kids go off to college and live elsewhere; we don’t want to lose our friends when our job takes us away; we don’t want the trials that come in our lives where we feel the oxygen has just left us. It is in those times we need to remember those words of Jesus, “Peace I give you to, a peace the world cannot give you, because my peace is perfect.”

As I laughed once again about the flight attendant’s words, I also was reminded of a time that Al and I were on a plane to Utah to go skiing. The winds were awful, the plane was jerking, folks were uneasy, and Al actually had to step into the aisle when the flight attendant was so bolted by the winds the heavy stainless-steel cart with the goodies on it tore out of her reach. She said “whoa, I can breathe again, thank you sir, for rescuing me!” He got a “clapping ovation” from everyone. Remembering this makes me wonder, if the airplane’s little yellow plastic cup and tubing drops from overhead, is “breathe normally” going to be my instinct? Probably not. Why? Because for most of us, it’s not automatic when we face in-life rather than in-flight those emergencies, disasters and trials of life, either.

In closing, tack a post-it-note with ‘O’ and put it on a wall in a place where you can see it and take the time to sit with Jesus, breathe in and out, and breathe-in his perfect peace. After all, HE is the pilot of our souls. HE has our life’s “flight plan well under control!” And, with Jesus, we never need to fear. OK, let’s all breathe: in-and-out, in-and-out—AMEN!