Waiting to Exhale

exhale1 It started with a phone call. There was fish and a sea and a pep talk and eventually some giggling. There were highs and lows that equaled each other, balanced each other, and occasionally tossed a left hook. But there was also some valid points that we agreed just might be blog material, so here you go…

“Good things come to those that wait” (1)


Some things that we wait for are a sure thing on a timer (like Christmas), others are nothing more than hope (Lottery). Deep down, we know some things are just hope, but we cling to them as if they were a sure thing. Why? For the same reason some people believe in a purple elephant in the sky… Faith.

Hope. Faith. Both require waiting on some level. Both require a little fire walking and occasional pep talks, whether from others or internally. And both mean holding your breath.

But how do we know when to wait? When to stop all action or words and just pause, turn blue, and wait for the universe to deliver it’s happy little Christmas packages? And how long do we wait? When do we exhale if the universe doesn’t deliver? And when do we step in and say enough of the waiting? It depends on the person doing the waiting and their patience level. It depends on the circumstance and consequences. It depends on what the present under the Christmas tree is promised to be. Batteries in your stocking could mean the remote control car you were hoping for, but it could also just be a silly flashlight. Still fun, still appreciated in the dark, but not what you were truly waiting for.

I never thought that I was one to hold my breath. I’ve always been a “now or never” kinda girl. If I’m not going to get it now, I accept that I won’t get it ever, and there’s no need to hold my breath. Yet, on occasion, I catch the little voice in my head reminding me to breathe, so I must be holding it. And I’m always telling others to breathe. Recently, it was because they were holding batteries for a flashlight. But sometimes breathing isn’t because you were holding your breath. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s realizing the ‘never’ is the reality. Breathing becomes quick and shallow. Hyperventilation of the heart, or mind, messes with our breathing, but not because we’ve inhaled and haven’t let it go. Sometimes, just sometimes, we’re breathing too much, when all we need to do is take a deep breath and wait to exhale…

I have one friend holding a flashlight and learning how to breathe again. I have another holding the batteries and hoping the lumpy package is the remote control car. Me? I’m not breathing too much, I’m thinking too much, and waiting to exhale. I know it’s a toy car. I can see a tire poking through a tear in the wrapping paper. I just don’t know what color it is.

And while I’m holding my breathe, turning blue, and hoping waiting, think on this opposing quote I found: “If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.” (2)
Because sometimes… just sometimes… we’ll hold our breath forever.

(1) Proverb & bastardization of Longfellow’s “all things come round to him who will but wait” (2) Oscar Wilde

0 Responses to Waiting to Exhale

  • Qweequeg says:

    Great blog… <3

  • Mary S says:

    I remember once asking my father, knower of all things, what happens if you hold your breath to long. “Do you die?” I was little, and the thought of such awesome frightening power in the hands of one’s own self scared me.

    His response: “No, you pass out. Then your body takes over and breathes for you. You may not know enough to breathe again, but we’re made so that we do it anyway.”

    I think that’s the answer. Sometimes, we just hold our breaths or hyperventilate until we pass out, and because we have a will to survive, something takes over and makes us breathe again. Something tells us now it’s time to exhale, because everything we’ve been holding in is growing toxic and useless, and it’s time to let in some fresh air to keep us going. And thank God we have a will to survive, because I believe you’re right. I believe blind faith and unconditional love would make us try to hold our breaths forever. Especially if there is even the slightest hope that the toy car is not too long in coming.

    I’d like to think when we pass out, we finally can recognize, at least on some basic survival level, that sometimes batteries don’t mean toys, and sometimes, that’s ok, because what we do get illuminates, and shows us things in the midst of our darkness we may never have seen otherwise.

    Each person can hold his or her breath a different amount of time, though. Some of us hold it while the world is turning white and fuzzy around the edges. Good thing we have friends to catch us when we pass out.

    And friends who tell us, “It’s Christmas morning, sister. Go open your presents. Make me smile, because even *I* know what’s in that package for you, and it will make me happy to see you just…exhale.”

  • Qweequeg says:

    Mary – Love what your Dad said, and how applicable it is!

  • Della says:

    I don’t agree. I think you aren’t taking into account that your fate/destiny/path whatever is in your own hands. People are accountable for their own actions. Life doesn’t happen around you, it happens as a direct result of your input.

    Sure. Hold your breath. It’s an action. Wait – inaction is still action. Make a bad decision, there are consequences, but it’s still action.

  • wolfnoma says:

    Am I the only guy that reads these things?

    Kelli, great blog.

  • Justdandi says:

    “Realizing the ‘never’ is the reality” you really hit a nerve for me with this one :) I realized while I was reading it that I was holding my breath!

  • Ariell says:

    I stopped for a second while reading this, just to make sure I was breathing. It’s pretty amazing that no matter what our brains are thinking, whether we want to keep breathing or not, our bodies are programed to make us do it. Also, it seems to me that it’s much easier to tell someone to keep breathing, than it is to take our own advice.
    I think this is an awesome blog :) and a GREAT concept.

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