A Breath of Fresh Air

I had a few friends who used to smoke.  They were pretty cool.  Tom could blow these smoke rings and do some weird stuff.  There were some other guys who were with us as well though I do not remember them all.  But I do remember sitting around with these guys down by the railroad tracks watching them smoke.  I always wondered what the fascination of smoking was.  They would always say that it would loosen me up.  Life was stressful and we needed a way to release the stress in our sixteen-year-old lives.  This was one of the most intense times in my life.  I figured though that I could run my stress off or do sports.  If I could release stress by beating some guy in a wrestling match or hitting some dude out on the football field, why not?

My uncle smoked for years.  A year or so after he had married my aunt, my uncle was faced with cancer.  The only way to stop the cancer from doing anymore harm, would be to remove his voice box.  To speak, he would need the assistance of a special buzzer-like microphone to enhance his voice.  Perhaps you have seen them.  For the rest of his life, the only way we can communicate is through this little microphone.  When my aunt gets mad at him, she will hide it somewhere so that he is unable to argue with him.  She says she does it jokingly and all.

I just met a girl this evening that has been struggling with smoking ever since she was sixteen.  I do not know why the age of sixteen seems to be the age when people start smoking.  I do not understand how anyone can consider the smell or the look of smoking attractive.  To be honest, when I meet a girl who smokes, it turns me off.  How can sounding like Marge Simpson be remotely attractive to anyone but Homer?  Seriously though, this girl has ‘attempted’ to stop smoking several times over.  Several times, she has failed.  I am not going to say that smoking is addictive.  Apparently there is no ‘valid and professional’ data to support that.  I guess this girl is just different.  Perhaps she is just not trying hard enough.

On average, there are 20 cigarettes in a pack.  Let us suppose an individual smokes half a pack of cigarettes a day or 10 cigarettes.  Let us then suppose that one started smoking cigarettes at the age of sixteen and is now thirty years of age.  Since the price of cigarettes has risen over the past several years, let us suppose as well that the average cost of cigarettes over these fourteen years is approximately 3.00 a pack.  Using these conservative numbers as an example, this individual smokes approximately 3,650 cigarettes per year, which equals about 183 packs.  Within a fourteen-year period, this individual has smoke somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,562 packs of cigarettes and has spent approximately 7,686.00.

I have met people in churches who have looked down on those who smoke.  They make comments.  “Christians should not smoke.”  Perhaps that is true.  Christians also should not lie, cheat, gossip, or seek personal gain.  It is so easy to make comments about someone when one does not have to deal with that issue.  When are we going to realize that we are dividing the body of Christ when we open our big mouths and say things that are hurtful?  When are we going to love people even though one’s clothing and breath smells like a late night bar or a bowling alley?  We all are all in need of a reality check.  None of us have our lives fully in control.  Let us not judge.  Let us love our neighbor as ourselves even if we are not in agreement with it.

To quite smoking, it takes an active choice each and everyday, before one’s feet hit the floor to not smoke.  One has to make a choice to kick the habit of smoking each morning.  Take that 7,686.00 and invest that money in a CD at the bank or place it into in IRA where it can continually grow and mature with interest.  It is a decision in which one has to make.  They have to believe that this decision is the best decision they can make for themselves before they can really quite.  Like a cripple men who was healed and picked up his bed, so individuals who has made the choice to not smoke anymore must not place themselves in a position to relapse.  No one else can make the decision for you.

Life is a short period of time.  It is valuable and worth living to the fullest.  Though we will make mistakes along the way, the challenges we face end up making us stronger, able to face life’s toughest trials.  Though it all, we can live as God has called us to live.  Free from the things of this world that desires to hold us captive.  It is that freedom that is worth living for in the first place.  That truly is a breath of fresh air.

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