February 27, 2011

that first breath

i had my first real sneeze at the age of 16. you think i'm kidding, but i'm not. oh sure, i had "sneezed" before, but it was really more like a strange nose spasm. and it was the result of an illness that i never knew i had.

before i learned of the wonderful world of speech pathology, i wanted to be a professional singer. i took voice lessons in a haunted downtown studio for the good part of high school, and one day as i was practicing a piece for an upcoming recital, my teacher suddenly stopped accompanying me on the piano. she looked at me with squinted eyes and a perplexed look and after a few moments said, "charissa, you don't know how to breathe."

now at 15 i may have not known how to do many things, but i was pretty sure breathing was the one task that i could perform confidently. but after daily observation, my teacher realized that i was using my whole body to take in every breath. and sure enough, my doctor realized it, too, and i learned that for approximately 10 years my tonsils and adenoids were almost constantly swollen, significantly limiting my ability to breathe. and it was the last lesson i ever expected to learn from going to a voice lesson.

and that was the terrifying truth: i had no idea that i was sick. sure, my throat always hurt. sure, i got strep throat like 3 times a year. sure, i had a funny sneeze and never felt like i got a full night's sleep. but because i had never known what it was like to really breathe, i never knew that i wasn't really breathing.

but a few days later, right after i turned 16, i met him. my doctor. the man who would remove the infection and essentially save my life. the man who would remove what was hurting me and take away my pain. the man who would allow me to breathe for the first time.

and the day of my surgery. the day of my healing. the day of my victory finally came. i felt butterflies as i anticipated what was about to take place with the giddiness of a child on christmas morning. the healer put me under and lifted me out to an unprecedented feeling: my first breath. new air that i had never known before filled my lungs. new energy coursed through my whole self. a new spirit took over that allowed me to breathe. to speak. to sing. to sleep. to sneeze.

and every time that i reflect on this experience in my life. this time of thinking i was healthy only to learn that i was incredibly sick. this time of learning that i had never had a real breath of air, a full night's sleep, or even a legitimate sneeze reminds me of the day that i met HIM. my DOCTOR. the GOD who would remove the infection and absolutely save my life. the GOD who would remove what was hurting me and take away my pain. the GOD who would allow me to breathe for the first time.

the day of my surgery. the day of my healing. the day of my victory finally came. i felt butterflies as i anticipated what was about to take place with the giddiness of a child on christmas morning. the HEALER put me under and lifted me out to an unprecedented feeling: my first breath. new air that i had never known before filled my lungs. new energy coursed through my whole self. a new SPIRIT took over that allowed me to breathe. to speak. to sing. to sleep. to sneeze.

and may i never forget as long as i live the moment that i took that first breath.

No comments:

Post a Comment