Sunday, November 18, 2012

Me First

I can't take credit for this idea, but I want to delve a little deeper into it. I heard this from a fantastic woman in our ward in Pennsylvania. She shared that they were taking their children on their first flight to see their grandparents. They were sitting on the plane and the flight attendants were doing their little safety pep talk before the flight took off. When they started talking about the masks that would fall from the overhead compartments in case of a change in cabin pressure, they were told that each person should fasten their mask to themselves first before helping anyone else, even their children.
Now I don't know about you, but at this point in her story, I made a very quick, spiritual connection. I realized then, as I was reminded again today, that none of us can be equipped to care for anyone else unless we have taken care of ourselves first. As I type that, I'm afraid it sounds a bit selfish, but I don't mean it to be. If you are on the plane and the masks come down and you're losing oxygen, you may not be any help - or much help - to anyone else if you are about to lose consciousness. From where we stand in our lives at this very moment, we may ask ourselves, do we have our masks on, so to speak, to allow ourselves to help anyone else?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about seeing someone in the store while I was going through a particularly hard time and she mentioned to me that she had also been struggling. At that moment, despite my desires to help her fasten her mask, I was losing oxygen for myself and was beginning to lose consciousness (just had to follow the pattern). Luckily, I realized this quickly about myself and worked to make sure I was taken care of so I could help the person "sitting next to me". That person could be the friend you run in to at the store, or someone you see in church, or a co-worker, or even a stranger you pass on the sidewalk. 
The point is, we need to take care of ourselves first, spiritually speaking, so we can care of others in the same sense. Imagine being in an emergency situation, the paramedics have been notified. Do you want someone who happened to hear the call and had no emergency training of any kind (and 911 wasn't available - trying to cover every aspect of that) to show up to help, or do you want someone who has the right kind of training, who may have even seen this situation before. Personally, I want to be aided by someone who knows what they're doing, not by well intentioned, but ill-equipped persons. And the same thing applies in a spiritual sense. 
And so I ask this question, not only for you, but for me...Are you prepared? Is your mask still dangling because you've started helping others next to you, but at a possible risk to yourself? Or do you have it securely fastened, enabling you to see the needs of others clearly because you are not losing your spiritual consciousness?

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