Monday, July 17, 2017

Breathe in Jesus and Peace. Breathe Out Stress.

My assignment? Simply pick-up 13-year old Brennan at the airport. He would be arriving from Seattle where he’d been at summer camp for the last week. I needed to ensure I was on time because, traveling as an unaccompanied minor meant I had to get my pass to go through security to get to his gate. “No problem. I’ve got this”, I thought. I left in plenty of time to make the 30 minute drive to the airport, but then it started pouring down rain on the way, so I had to slow down. Breathe, Donna, breathe. (Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body because when we breathe deeply, it sends a message to our brains to calm down and relax. I like to think that I’m inhaling Jesus and His peace; and exhaling all that stress!)

When I arrived at the airport, I missed the parking garage entry and had to drive around and navigate past passenger pick-up to find that parking entry again. Once inside the crowded garage, I had to drive and drive to find a parking place, and then it was navigating my way back to, and through the terminal to get to the ticket counter. I looked at the monitors and Brennan’s flight was arriving 20 minutes early. Breathe, Donna, breathe!

At the ticket counter, my name wasn’t in the “unaccompanied minor” system, even though I had a Consent Form in hand, and the rep was saying they couldn’t let me through security. More delays. Thankfully, Shawntel answered when I called her and approved my “package” pick-up. Then, it was a long security check-through line before making it to the gate, which by the way, was Gate 25…at the end of the concourse! My heart was pounding. Breathe, Donna, breathe.

Fortunately, unaccompanied minors are the last ones to get off the plane. I was beaming when “the champ” came out with the airlines’ employee. Whew! I made it, but did I need to be so stressed out? Probably not – I could have left 30 minutes earlier and much of the stress would have been avoided.

Made it home and I knew his huge suitcase would be full of dirty clothes so I unloaded it and commenced to wash the first load and then into the dryer. Taking the clothes out of the dryer, I saw something dark all over his clothes, and then found the culprit. He had left a chocolate candy in a pocket and now that candy was all over his clothes. Breathe, Donna, breathe.

It was a simple “Spray and Wash” and do over, but still – the extra hassle was because I didn’t check “a typical boy’s pockets” – that had been to summer camp.

It’s kind of like life, isn’t it? Some challenges and problems are easily remedied by calculated thinking and purposeful elimination of unnecessary stress. Some problems can be fixed easily – a broken fingernail, consent forms “entered into the system”, the kid’s spilled drink on the floor, chocolate in the wash. Those problems cause inconvenience and frustration, sure, but they can usually be resolved with a bit of time (and maybe some creative problem solving).

Many times, however, our challenges are bigger than rushing through an airport or washing chocolate out of summer camp clothes. Perfect planning can’t stop some storms -- the ones that look like broken relationships and broken hearts, financial upheavals, or being in pain or loved ones passing.

Maybe that’s someone who is reading my post today. Maybe you are overwhelmed by a tumultuous storm and people in your life just don’t have the goods to make you feel better. Breathe, sweet friends, breathe. Inhale Jesus and His peace. Exhale the fears and worries and concerns. The good news is there’s always hope and peace found in the midst of our storms because of He who is the peace-maker, the storms eradicator and the comfort provider.

There’s an old song that goes “Mama said there’d be days like this”, and Jesus agreed with Mama when He said in John 16:33 “In the world, you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He knew we’d face hard times, storms that dump buckets of troubles on us. But He also knew He’d be right here beside us to help us survive the winds and waves! So, breathe, sweet friends, breathe!