On the Labors of Breathing

(BRASS Elephant) Try lying down with one of these on your chest. (Image sourced from www.allergynorthtexas.com.)

(BRASS Elephant) Try lying down with one of these on your chest. (Image sourced from http://www.allergynorthtexas.com.)

I don’t get sick very often. At least not in the last five years. But when I do, there’s always a sense of relief under the surface misery: a sense that, finally, I can rest without having to manage the attendant guilt.

But now, there’s an elephant sitting on my chest, and the oppressive weight leaves no room even for relief. The illness expresses and magnifies the inadequacy I suddenly feel in the face of all my life’s demands: there’s not enough of me to do all the studying, teaching, writing, managing, supervising, cleaning, and so on and so forth.

So, yes, I don’t have enough resources or staff to live my own life, and the only employee sticking around is wheezing like Darth Vader on steroids. (Well, I am on steroids. For medical reasons. But I suppose that’s what they all say. The steroid users I mean.)

As with all crises, this present emergency simply indicates that there’s something I have to learn. With all the righteous indignation I can muster between labored breaths, I’d like to to insist that I do know what the lesson is—slowing down, smelling the roses, all those sorts of things—I just don’t know how I’m expected to live it when slowing-down-and-rose-smelling will require additional staff and resources. (Yes, there’s not enough of me to even handle any relaxing.)

So because I am short of answers (in the same way that I’m short of breath), I’m simply going to sit (tight) and breathe (painfully) and wait for the universe to do me a good turn. Not because I deserve it, but because I need it.

So this is me asking for a break, asking for a breather, asking for a blessing, asking for a miracle.

And now for the hardest part: waiting.

With bated, laborious breath.



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