5 Breaths
Trina Mioner

I thought to myself that I did not want to do a writing assignment for a group of veterans about what I am thankful for this holiday season. It was too much of a cliché to do this list around Thanksgiving. I did not want to make a grocery list of things. I felt that the devil must be pulling at my strings because I am so thankful.

There are obvious things that I am thankful for like the roof over my head. I have more; I have a nice house and home. I do not want to sound like I’m boasting, but I have a two-person walk-in bathtub with whirlpool. I am not going to make a list of things because the things are too numerous, and it would be a boast festival.

Last night at about 3 a.m. (I’m guessing), I inhaled and only caught a half of a breath, and then it stopped, like a train wreck. It felt like I was suffocating. The air would not enter my body. It felt muffled, like someone had a pillow over my face. There was no pillow; I just could not breathe. I could not inhale. Then I sucked hard, and it was as if a dam broke and a flood of air burst in.

My lungs filled. I slowly took in five deep breaths. I heard the voice in my head count five times, exactly five times. That is how long it took for me to get out of the panic mode and relax. After five deep breaths I was no longer in danger.

I sit here writing with tears in my eyes. You know when you are half asleep and half awake and you are not sure if it was a dream or if it really happened. I ask: Did I stop breathing in my sleep or was I just dreaming? All I know is that it came to me that I am so thankful for the breath of life. I am so thankful for being able to inhale and exhale; that is a gift.

I don’t want to compare myself to other people who are less fortunate. I am sure there are people who drag around an oxygen tank and are thankful for the oxygen. I see commercials where they have some tanks that are so small that you can carry them around in a backpack. I am grateful that I do not need air in a tank, and I’m thankful to God for that invention.

I am preparing to read what I’m thankful for to a group of generous women. I write “lol” because I have been doing a lot of texting. Laugh out loud. I am so happy and thankful that God allowed me to inhale and exhale to the fullest capacity of my lungs last night and in this moment.

I have no needs. I have extra everything. My storehouse is overflowing, and I can give. I have a heart to give. I feel ashamed to say that because it sounds like I am boasting. I am still resisting making that list because it seems small compared to what I’m really thankful for. I am thankful for my relationship with God and my family.

It is time for me to present this list to my group. I am thankful that there is no time to make a comprehensive list of all I am thankful for. In light of last night, the things are really not that important.