Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Repeat as Needed

St. Francis
Rye, New York
October 2010

Isaiah 41:10 NIV
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Suck in a deep breath. Hold it. Exhale slowly. Repeat... Repeat... Repeat...

The panic attacks and hyperventilation aren't as pronounced now as they were six months ago. But I have headaches. Knife-stabbing, brain-squishing throbs in my frontal lobe. I assume this is a side-effect of stress.

I chatted over lunch today with a friend. We sat in a booth at a Japanese restaurant eating rice and beef when one of my former students walked through the door. I love this boy. He is successful and sweet. He hurried over to see me.

"How is Russell doing?" he asked after we had caught up on his life, and I felt my brain pulsate.

Oh, God. He doesn't know! They were friends on my debate team. He and Russell shared many high school moments together. The news is not easy for me to tell.

I arranged what I hoped was a calm expression and explained Russell passed away in January.

He gave his condolences; my mind locked. I smiled, thanked him, and attempted to configure a brave face.

Now, safe at home, my brain constricts.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Slowly now. Lord, let me have a moment where Russell doesn't dominate my thoughts!

Suck in a deep breath. Hold it. Exhale slowly. Repeat... repeat... re..peat....
Lord, hold me up as I go out into the world.


  1. Oh, Lori, I know these kinds of encounters are tough. There are no easy responses to give at a time like this. My father died when I was 4-years old, and my whole life I didn't know what to say when people who would ask me: "What does your father do?" I mean, honestly, how do you answer? Just do your best...and you will. Love you.

  2. Sharon--thanks for sharing. Allie is struggling to answer the question: "Do you have any brothers or sisters?" Such a basic getting-to-know-you question with no harm intended, but painful none-the-less. Love you, too!