February 15, 2012

Remembering to Smile

Remembering to Smile

Smile, breathe and go slowly.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

There are days when I feel like I simply forget what really matters.

For several days now I have been really struggling with my breathing. I have asthma, so this happens sometimes, but when it get protracted and out of control, it can take over my whole world.  Mostly, we get to get to go through life and things like breathing just happen. But when they don’t, trust me, it can through things off in the rest of your life.

I am not – of course – actually going to blame my asthma for the horrible leak under my kitchen sink, but it didn’t entirely feel like a coincidence last night.

I tried to run again this morning.  I am taking a high dose of a steroid and two other asthma drugs and things in my lungs felt a bit better.  The drugs, on the other hand, make me a bit agitated and irritable and so even though I am a bit short of breath, running starts to seem like a good idea to disperse some of the extra energy.

So I did it – I ran a short, labored distance – about half of what I usually do – and stopped.

Walking home I had time to think. It’s not always easy to keep perspective on what is important.  Over the past few weeks running had been getting easier and more routine and even more fun.  I had a couple of personal records and was starting to think “hey, this might really stick” – and then I get hit with this setback and I feel like the wind is gone from my sails.

What is important is breathing. Right. When you can’t do that it’s kind of  hard to run. When you can’t perform a basic function, you have to refocus quickly or life can get pretty miserable.

I remind myself that I had pneumonia in November and I came back from that. OK. And I am already breathing better today and that’s good.  And – hey – I can run farther today on bad lungs than I ever could 7 months ago when I wasn’t wheezing – I could not even run half a mile when I started.  What’s more, I am in better shape and I am happier and I am sleeping better and…well, lots of good things.

I walk back in my house, and there are my two wonderful kids smiling at me and getting ready for their morning and you know what? I have to smile back.

Sometimes things don’t go the way we plan. Sometimes they don’t go the way we want. Sometimes they go exactly how we would not want them to go. Sometimes you can change it and sometimes you can’t. But attitude is everything. You have to believe it will get better, it won’t last, it will be different tomorrow than it is today.

I sometimes think that I have asthma simply because I need something to slow me down when life gets going too fast. Something to force me to remember what life is really about. I am breathing and I am grateful. It all starts there. I can slow down just a bit and nothing will break or explode. I can smile a bit because it’s really not that bad.

And tomorrow I can wake up and try again.

Wish me luck.



Leave a comment
  1. Tony
    February 15, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Nothing left to do but SMILE,SMILE,SMILE!

  2. Gillian
    February 19, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    What a fantastic photo. It could be an amazing painting.

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      February 19, 2012 at 3:43 am #


    • Jacqueline Jacques
      February 19, 2012 at 3:44 am #

      Taken with my iPhone – actually virtually all of these are. Amazing little camera in there.