There’s nothing quite as invigorating as a deep breath of fresh air.
As a kid I was highly allergic to cats. When I visited someone’s home who had cats my eyes would itch immediately. Then the wheezing would begin. The final step was a very labored, forced filling of my lungs, which always resulted in a trip to the emergency room for some time on the oxygen mask and a few shots.
In most cases I could relieve all of the symptoms of my allergic reaction just by stepping outside. As the fresh air filled my lungs and washed over my eyes I was renewed. The wheezing faded. The itching subsided. Slowly I felt normal again.
While I’m no longer allergic to cats I still experience the same renewal when I am in the presence of people who provide me fresh air. When life has me wheezing and my eyes watering from irritation– even 15 minutes with a person who breathes fresh air into my life is life changing– alleviating the symptoms of whatever allergy life delivers.
I’ve found that there are four types of people who breathe fresh air into others…
- The Cold Crisp Reality – When someone splashes water into my face with the reality I need to hear, I’m thankful. I’ve been in leadership long enough to appreciate when people take off the nice filter and tell me what’s really on their mind. Too often, I’m in the position of trainer and not learner. Trust me, the cold crisp reality is far more refreshing than a fistful of niceties.
- The Salty Truth – I have some people in my life who love to speak truth with a little salt in the air. Well beyond shock jock quality, their borderline cynicism moves me into deeper and deeper understanding. Here’s the thing about salt. Without salt a lot of life would lack flavor.
- The Dry Facts – This is different than a cold crisp reality because it is usually an examination of the data. While not exciting, much of life has data points which I both learn from and find refreshing.
- The Calm New Morning Mist – The experience of stepping out of your home into the freshness of a morning is instantly spiritual as my sleep renewed body conjoins with the dew filled renewal of dawn. Likewise, when calm refreshing still-quiet voices speak words of kindness into me my soul is renewed.