There's an object lesson in every flight you take.
After rushing to the airport, checking bags, getting boarding pass, making your way through security and finally boarding the plane, you're settled in your seat with your personal item stowed under the seat in front of you. The flight attendant stands and demonstrates how to use the oxygen mask if the cabin loses pressure in an emergency.
The recorded voice says, "Please secure your own mask before helping another."
We'd do well to apply this in our own lives.
As mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends, and visiting teachers we want to be busy helping others. It's part of our religion, baked into each lesson and talk...serve one another, if you love me keep my commandments, charity never faileth and so one. And it's a good thing.
But every day we should secure our own mask, taking in the things that feed our own souls, that strengthen our spirits, that build our own reserves, that make it possible to give and love and serve one another.
This is not selfish, it's self-care.
The commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Meaning we have to love and care for ourselves first before we are able to care for others.
The admonition to secure our own masks is even more important when "emergencies" come in our own lives. To have in place the habits of prayer, fasting, turning to the scriptures for answers and comfort, and relying on the atonement of Jesus Christ prepares us for those hard times, and it allows us to know how best to help others.
To take the metaphor a bit further, we can't breathe in the oxygen for another. Everyone needs their own mask, their own supply of hope and faith and healing.
That is found in Jesus Christ, His atonement and His gospel.
We can and should encourage all to come to Christ and find what they need.
This promise is to us all in our own hard times:
It is Jesus Christ who gave us breath and will hold our hand and keep us (Isaiah 42: 5-6).
It is He who is aware of our most difficult trials and is our greatest safety and hope (Cook, 'Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time')
Let us secure our own masks before helping others. Let us remember who gives us breath and will hold our hand and keep us. Let us encourage others to secure their own masks.
Photo credit: Craig Damlo