What helps you these days?

It was the second graders’ turn to do the readings at our all school Mass. One of our young ones who was scheduled to read at that Mass was sick the day before and missed the practice. When she arrived at school the next day her teacher asked her if she would be okay to do the reading that morning. She said, “Oh, yes, I practiced at home.” Her teacher said, “No, I mean, do you feel good enough to do it?” The little second grader said, “Oh, I’m fine. It was just morning sickness.”

Fortunately, life is funny sometimes. Laughter is one of the things that helps me be okay in a sometimes-painful world. What helps you?  During these uniquely challenging days, it’s important to look at what helps us to be okay and to build those things into our lives.

When flight attendants tell us that “oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling should we lose compression” (talk about faith), they ask us to put our own masks on first if we are traveling with someone who needs assistance. The first time I heard that recommendation, I wasn’t sure I agreed. That is, until a mom pointed out that – if a child resisted putting his or her mask on and I passed out while trying to help – we would likely both die.

In times of intense crisis or challenge, the oxygen mask we need to keep on looks like four things. The first three are physical: Sleep; exercise; nutrition. The fourth is to daily do something that nurtures our souls, that helps our spirits breathe.

What helps YOU? Whatever it is, may God help each of us ‘keep an oxygen mask on’ – for our own sake – and for the sake of the people we love.

–        Fr Joe