A close friend of mine from Kansas City
has a favorite saying, “Nothing else matters much if you can’t suck air.” It is rather crude, but to the point. Our life depends on being able to breathe. A person who suffers from acute asthma or
bronchitis can well understand that.  

a child, I had asthma. I spent many a
night sleeping sitting up in a chair, because to lay down and sleep was
impossible. I felt as if I was drowning.
have heard of divers who became lost in underwater caves, and ran out of oxygen. When their bodies were recovered later, it
was discovered that in their panic, at realizing they were out of air and
trapped, they had attempted to claw their way up through the solid rock of the
cave roof! They had actually torn the
flesh from their finger tips down to the bone in their futile efforts to
escape. It is not a pleasant thought to
say the least. To say that breathing is
important is a gross understatement.
We use the expression to smother someone
with kisses, or to smother someone with love.
Those sayings elicit strong warm feelings for us, especially if we are
the recipient of all that love and affection.
My wife Cherryl, mother of my children, now deceased had a game that she
played with our youngest daughter when she was three years old. She would pick up Courtnee and just “smother
her with kisses” all over her face and neck until, Courtnee was laughing almost
uncontrollably. When my wife would stop,
generally Courtnee would say the moment she was able to speak, “do it again, mama.” We all like to be smothered with love.
Many times though, we do smother our loved
ones, but not with love. We can become
overly protective of our children. We
love them, so we want to protect them.
That is normal. What is not
normal is to protect them so much so that they cannot develop the proper skills
for life. I have seen many parents so
protect their children from interaction with other children, that when that
child begins school they have no idea of how to act or even react to other children. Being around other children becomes a
terrifying experience for that child.
We have smothered our children in other
ways as well. In our busy lives of the
grown up world it can become very easy to allow the TV to be our children’s
surrogate parent. They learn their
manners and etiquette from what they see on TV instead of from us. We smother their creativity by our words of
harsh criticism. We smother their
naturally loving spirits, by our cold, unresponsiveness because we are too busy
with work, or the evening news on TV, or any number of other things. Their natural creativeness is smothered when
we do not give them our time or benefit of our knowledge gained through our own
We can also smother the life, and love out
of our spouse. Our inattentiveness to
their needs, or lack of time with them, because of work, hunting, quilting, or
any myriad number of things (which are not bad in themselves) can smother their
love for us and for life. We try to say
well when I am with them, it is quality time.
But if the quality time period is not there often enough, we smother
As humans we all depend on being able to
breathe to maintain our lives. “The
Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
- Job 33:4 It is God that has given each of us the breath
of life. We need to be conscience of
that and remember to refresh the breathing of those around us by not smothering
them in our dealings with them.
Remember the horrible picture above of the
smothered (drowned) diver? The picture
of what we do to our children or spouses, many times, is no prettier. God has given us but one life to live, and
only one lifetime to share with our families.
How will you spend it? Smothering
them with love, or smothering their love?
It’s your choice.

Morris, a retired minister, originally from Georgetown, served as a pastor and
then as a missionary in Costa Rica and Ecuador, can be reached at [email protected] He has been in ministry for 53 years and a
columnist for 18 years.

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