Take a deep breath


I don’t think about Oxygen much anymore. When I get up in the morning I think about what I am going to eat, what I am going to wear, what I have to do today and where do I need to go. These are all conscious choices and decisions that have to be made each day. Food sustains us (or in the case of the ribs out on the grill right now) can also destroy us. Making sure I have the right balance is an almost never ending struggle since most of the foods that are good for you are often ugly and funny tasting. Even the ones that are somewhat cute (like Brussels sprouts) come back up my throat at the least opportune time.

I know my Mother loved me and I am sure the strain of raising five kids on a tight budget was often a challenge. But every once in a while I suspected that she had evil intentions with her cooking. Seriously, who serves liver and onions with canned spinach? My older brother Chuck taught all of us how to gag when we were still very young and we still thought he was “the” role model to follow. I can see the contorted features of his face as the first piece of meat reached his lips. This was followed by dramatic surges of his stomach timed impeccably with the breath-catching gagging sound. The hunched in shoulders and gurgling sounds completed the perfect start to a cavalcade of coughing among all of the boys.

Why can’t all food taste like cheeseburgers right off the grill. You know the kind, the ones with the upgraded meat and the searing effect of the grill. Just the right amount of seasonings and the cheese melted evenly over the craterlike surface of the burger. A fresh slice of tomato, crisp lettuce, and real mayonnaise on a bun fresh from the bakery. Follow that up with a rich desert of any kind and life is exceedingly good.


The little fellow in the picture is Shing…
he travels with me all over the globe


I don’t think about carbon dioxide much anymore either. I do consider the weather report before I pull out the clothes for the day. Being in a semi-retired state right now, I don’t think much about what the business community might think about my attire, I just want to be comfortable and ready for whatever chores are on my list today. I don’t remember my Dad ever having a list when I was growing up. But based on a lot of conversation and reading other people’s blogs I would suspect that my generation has become the most list oriented group of men in all of history.

Sometimes the list is typed. Those are the most impressive since you know much thought has gone into their creation. Our computers are in the same room and sometimes I hear my wife madly typing away on hers. She was an administrative person before she retired and her typing skills are still epic compared to mine. I no longer need to ask what she is typing. Once I was actually told it wasn’t my list, it was just her way of keeping track of things for herself. When I looked over and saw “Paint the deck” I realized that “her” list was just another way of showing “My” chores.


When is the last time you wondered how much carbon monoxide was in the air? After dressing myself and having the coffee that will kick me into a higher gear, making the choices about where to go first and what the purpose for the journey are become the real drivers for the day. Is there enough gas in the car, what’s the weather like, what time of day is it and which route will I take. But again all of those are choices in one way or another and the sum total of the choices I make will occupy my day.

Funny that I wouldn’t think about oxygen anymore. It takes about 21% of it to make your life comfortable. More if you are exerting and a wee bit less if you are resting. Carbon Dioxide is actually a rather cooperative gas since it is both a waste and a source of energy. We make it and the plants use it. Pretty good circle if you ask me. Even carbon monoxide has its uses although as a submariner, I have always viewed it as a colorless – odorless – tasteless killer of men in their sleep. Keeping those elements in balance is the only way a submarine can operate under the water for months at a time.

Just because I don’t think about them anymore doesn’t make them any less important to my life. Without them being in the right balance, I would surely not survive. It just makes me think about all the other important things in life that need to be in balance that I don’t think about. During the past few months I discovered that faith, family and focus were not balanced properly. If anything can cause a top to spin out of control, it’s the imperfections that are built into the design of the top’s balance. Sooner or later if it spins too long, it falls out of its sustaining pattern and drops on its side.

Just like submariners need to be proactive about balancing those life giving elements of O2 – CO2 and CO, I need to be more proactive about balancing work, life and faith. I am glad I still get another chance to try and find the right balance.

Time to go finish the ribs.

Mister Mac

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