Nurtured by Nature

Autumn trees in the countryside

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.—GENESIS 1:31 [NIV]

My husband, Ralph, panicked when he couldn’t catch his breath—one of the scarier features of COPD. “I can’t breathe,” he’d gasped in fear, suddenly sitting up on the couch. We were both anxious. I quickly gave him his inhalers and guided him through slow, deep breathing. “One, two, three . . .” I counted out loud, while inwardly praying, God, please help us through this moment.

Then I had an idea. “Let’s sit outside,” I told Ralph. The air quality was good that day, and there was a cool, pleasant breeze. Although he was still weak and shaken, I led him outside with his portable oxygen machine. We sat in chairs beneath the tree in our backyard and watched maple leaves gently sway above us. We saw a handsome cardinal bathe in the bird bath, and two squirrels with bushy tails play a game of chase. My husband smiled and breathed easier. His anxiety had markedly lessened.

Now, whether sitting in the backyard, sitting in front of a window or visiting a park, we’ve made the natural world a regular part of Ralph’s healing care. And mine too.

Today's Prayer:

God, when we are sick or distressed, help us remember the wonder and power of your beautiful creation.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts