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GRAY Excerpt: No Air in the Room.

"The sweat poured down my face and soaked through my clothes. Even though I could hear the fan spinning in the background, even though I could feel the wind off the blades blowing against my back, there was no air in the room. I was on fire, losing my breath."

You hear people talk about the out of body experience. You hear them talk about the jolt to the system after crushing news is given... when someone‘s world is about to fall apart. But, it's not often people talk about the moments BEFORE. The moment BEFORE the truth comes out.

I think about families who get a knock at the door. What it must feel like when they open it to find army personnel standing on the doorstep. Realizing at any second they will be given a truth that will change everything. Their son has been killed in combat. With the soldiers standing at attention, preparing to deliver them the worst news and the worst day of their lives... oh how they must want to run... to slam the door in their faces and pretend it isn't happening.

I think about the husband sitting on the edge of his seat waiting for the diagnosis. Holding his wife's hand as the doctor steps into the room. He can tell by the slump in the physician's shoulders the news is going to take his world from him. So he holds her hand a bit tighter as his chest begins to ache... anxiety pulsating, trying to protect the heart that's about to bleed out. It will bleed like a river when the news is spoken... filling the room with the truth they can't accept.

Some of you have yet to experience a BEFORE moment. Be thankful for that.

But maybe you have. Have you ever found yourself in a space where the air leaves you? Where the world around you becomes so toxic, filled with truths you're not ready to hear?

That was me in GRAY. Chapter one, Page 21.

Seems so strange that I have it documented so specifically. But it feels right to give it its moment in the story.

After I learned about Adama's death... a haze covered everything. It's taken me years to sort through time, unraveling the story and forcing myself to remember details. The haze I allowed to settle over me was self preservation I suppose. But in spite of all that, I have always VERY vividly remembered the moments BEFORE. As I sift through it, I realize that remembering it helps me when sharing and counseling others facing tragic loss. Being present in the BEFORE helps us get a firm grip on the situation. Looking back I wish I'd been able to take stock in the moment, realizing the blow was coming.... I could have planted my feet firmer into the ground. So my body could handle the physical response coming. I could have released my will. knowing I wouldn't be able to change what was coming... firmly planting my heart in the solace that no matter what news was about to come, I would survive it.

I think about the moments before I found out about Adama's death.... often.

I think about the hope I carried into the room. Prior to knowing I thought it was going to be a day of breakthrough. How quickly the circumstance changed. How quickly I abandoned that hope and my belief that all things work together for good. How quickly I lost my security in a God that was supposed to protect and heal...the one who was supposed to go to battle and take the mountain.

It's taken me 8 years to understand that the BEFORE moments are just as important as the AFTER.

I've learned that when the air is taken from the room, when the stage is set for the worst news of our lives... we can plant our feet... and lean in. Knowing that we will never be okay in the AFTER... but we will survive it. We will tell the story. We will uncover tiny miracles in the rubble. And in spite of it all...even though we might hate the God who changed the story line... the one who allowed the unthinkable. Somewhere inside we know he still loves us... even so. Even so, somewhere deep inside is a seed of hope. That hope never dies. We are meant to keep going. We are meant to rise back up. Our hearts keep beating. Our lungs will keep breathing. We will get out of bed. We will step into the sun. We will laugh again. It isn't called moving on by any means.... instead I call it...

simply living.

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