Oxygen Mask

"If we lose cabin pressure, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others."

These are the words we all hear when we board and airplane and the flight attendants go through the safety protocol.  I was reminded of this protocol as I was reading The Last Lecture, by the late Randy Pausch.  He was speaking of his wife as the primary caregiver of three children and a terminally ill husband and said that she would sometimes forget to put on her oxygen mask before assisting others.  I immediately thought about how I forget to put on my oxygen mask before assisting others when it comes to my spiritual life and relationship with God.

Whether you work at a church, in the business world, at home, single, married, widowed, retired, etc. we will all start gasping for air if we do not put on our oxygen masks before assisting others.  Not only will we be gasping for air, but we will be of no benefit to those around us.

I think why this illustration hit me so hard is that I have been doing so much without putting on my spiritual oxygen mask to the point where I am not good for myself or anyone around me.  This mask isn't just for when we lose cabin pressure, but at all times.  What am I breathing in?  Who am I breathing in?  Am I breathing in truth, life and God Himself or am I trying to sustain myself with my small gasps of tainted oxygen?

I wish I could have an actual airplane oxygen mask and put it in my office, as a reminder of the need for a connection with God each and every moment of my life, in the large and small things as well as the exciting and mundane.  We should all heed the safety protocol of those flight attendants and put on our oxygen mask before assisting others.

Comments

Laura,

Thank you for the strong reminder of our dependence on God and our temptation to "serve" out of emptiness.

My aunt would tell me to "put the oxygen mask on yourself first" as a warning against burn-out, and to ensure that I actually served out of strength instead of running-on-empty.

I wonder if she read the book you referred to!?

Great thought. I don't know how many times I come home from church and realize I've never stopped to take a breath. You come to that point where you realize you've got nothing left to give and you feel like a phony and a fraud. Then God reminds you to breathe. If I can do nothing more than breathe in the goodness of God, and breathe it out again - that will be enough.
SDG

Gwynne Johnson's picture

Laura...I LOVED the Last Lecture as well...watched the whole thing on YouTube!

Hey, this site is cool. Glad to see what you've been writing. I showed Joe this blog and it really connected since he is in church ministry now and also has the airline connection. Thought I'd let you know. What a good reminder.
Thanks!

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