Years ago, one of my favorite pastors preached a series on creating breathing room in our lives. That message has stuck with me, and recently struck a chord as I found myself unraveling in small ways, definitely in need of a break. I remember reflecting about a week ago, how I just needed a little breathing room in my own life. Sometimes you don’t know how much weight you’re carrying until it all becomes too much. As men and fathers in particular, it can definitely feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders (and it’s so difficult to get us to talk about it sometimes). That’s about how I felt by the end of last week, so it was fortunate that I had the foresight (i.e. wisdom from God) to take some time off, each Friday for the rest of the summer, to begin recharging. I’m finding that the best way to create breathing room in my life is to take a step away from everything. The increased space from my daily realities provides the breathing room I need to make better decisions moving forward.
Something interesting happened in particular to me this weekend as I finally exhaled for a few days. So much has been going on lately, people passing, talk of expanding our family, house hunting, projects at work, that I barely had time to pause and think. So, after enjoying a relaxing morning getting a massage, I finally had the clarity of mind to just process the past few weeks of experiences. I had a conversation with my grandma yesterday that perfectly summarizes my reflections. She reminded me, you have to live everyday to it’s fullest, because you don’t know how much time you have here on this earth. Each day is a gift, and we should treat it as such. So I’ve been taking that advice over the past few days.
I went to get ice cream with Riley, my oldest daughter and we just sat and talked. I hadn’t done that in a while, literally just sat and talked with her. I learned a few new things (apparently we have the same favorite number, 3). She continues to amaze me with how fast she’s growing up. She has a wonderfully inquisitive mind. As we sat at the table finishing our ice cream cones (I mean really, who has time anymore to sit inside a Dairy Queen and simply eat ice cream?), Riley said to me, thanks daddy, I had a good time. And you know what? So did I. I’ve had similar moments with Olivia and my wife this weekend, and as the week begins today I’m excited to continue to find these moments. Here’s the ongoing key for maintaining breathing room: I’ve got to continue giving myself permission to inhale these precious moments of life, and exhale the stress and worries that inevitably build up over time.