Be a Breathing Buddy - A Guest Post by Cherrilynn Bisbano

"What are you doing? You could have killed me!" I was angry and scared.

In 1989, while attending Combat Camera School in Denver, Colorado, for the RI Air National Guard, I decided to take a scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus)  class. Three months was a long time to be away at school, so I filled my extra time at night with SCUBA lessons at the pool on base.

 I would chuckle at myself because I lived in the Ocean State and received my SCUBA certification in Denver where there is no ocean.

During the final certification qualifications we tested at Grand Lake, one of the deepest lakes in Colorado. It was time for buddy breathing. Buddy breathing is a rescue technique used in “out of air" emergencies. This is when two divers share one demand valve. The divers alternate breathing, taking two breaths each while swimming to the surface.

We were about fifty feet down when our test began. My buddy was Tom, a fit and seemingly confident man. As we began our swim to the surface, I had to simulate losing my air. That meant that Tom had to give me his mouth piece so that I could take two breaths and return it, and then he would take his two breaths and give the mouth piece back to me. This was to continue until we reached the surface. I gave Tom the universal signal that I was out of air. He refused to give me his mouthpiece. I tried to remain calm. After all, I survived being dumped into a pool encased in a large metal drum during Naval Air Crew Training. This should be a breeze.

NOT! As we continued to swim toward the surface, Tom still refused to give me his mouth piece. Fear tried to overtake me, but I would not let it. As a diver, swimming to the surface at a quick rate is dangerous and could cause the bends. If I used my own mouthpiece, I would fail. My chest began to hurt as I frantically waved to Tom to give me the air. No response. I actually put my hand on his mouthpiece to show him that I needed it. He swam away. My certification was on the line, and this guy was not cooperating. It was useless. I needed to get to the surface. As I kicked my legs, I could see the blue sky above through the surface of the water. Finally, I broke through  and gasped for air.

My instructor looked at me and said, "Where is your buddy?"  

"I don't know. He refused to give me his mouthpiece so I came to the surface."

My instructor swam toward me.

"Are you alright? You came up rather quickly?"

Still catching my breath I asked, "Did I fail because of this?" I had invested so much time and money, and I did not want to fail.

At that moment Tom sprang out of the water.

"What are you doing? You could have killed me!" I was almost in tears.

The instructor saw how upset I was.

"Cherrilynn, I will handle Tom, and you and I will go back down and do the buddy breathing so you won't fail."

Buddy breathing with the instructor was scary and difficult, but I did it and received my certification. Tom later apologized and said that he was consumed with the fear of drowning.

Do you know a brother or sister in Christ who needs a buddy to help them breath? We are called to rescue our brothers and sisters.

"My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins." James 5:19-20, NIV

The truth is the air we breathe. It brings life. The Word can save us from heartache and trouble.  

"I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your Word." Psalm 119:25, NIV

There have been times in my life that I have felt like I was drowning. Either in self pity or pain.

A brother or sister in Christ would come to me and breathe new life into me with the Word of God.

At the time I did not want them trying to resuscitate me. I found the truth difficult to swallow. Who wants to be told they’re drowning when their sinful choice has sunk them to the deep waters? I did not.

However, when I came to my senses I realized the Word spoken in love was a life line to my soul. Who do you know that needs a Breathing Buddy? Don't withhold the Word of life from them in fear of their reaction.

"Save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh."   Jude 1:23, NIV

Seek God's direction. Be the Breathing Buddy they need.

Help them to dive into the Word of God and breathe life back into their spirit.

© Copyright 2015 by Cherrilynn Bisbano. This post was originally posted on Pelican Promise on June 11, 2015, and adapted for Life with God.

Cherrilynn Bisbano is a speaker, teacher and writer.  She is a volunteer associate editor at Almost an Author and the winner of Flash Fiction Weekly short story contests. She has been published in More to Life (MTL Magazine), Christian Rep, and other online magazines. Her ministry is to encourage her brothers and sisters in Christ to be all that God created them to be.  She loves homeschooling her thirteen year old autistic son, Michael, Jr., and has been married 16 years to Michael, Sr. You can find her speaking information at her blog:

encouragement, the church, the body of Christ, Be a Breathing Buddy, Cherrilynn Bisbano

Comments (9)

  • anon

    I love the illustration of a breathing buddy for imparting words of life. What a great word picture! Thanks for the reminder. 

    Aug 04, 2015
  • anon

    Lyneta,   Thank you for visiting and thank you for the encouragement.  There have been many times in my life that the Word has resuscitated me.  Feel free to pass this on if you think it will bless others.

    Aug 04, 2015
  • anon

    I echo Lyneta's comments, and I also have been blessed with breathing buddies. God knew when to send them, and I don't know what would have happened without their help (and His help through them). 

    Aug 04, 2015
  • anon

    What a great analogy, Cherrilynn! There have been many breathing buddies in my life. God's been gracious to bring someone beside me everytime I walked through a hardship. It's also been an honor to serve Him as the breathing buddy for some of my friends. God's faithful to give us what we need.

    Aug 04, 2015
  • anon

    Amen, Sherry. God is faithful. Makes you want to be available to be someone's "buddy" when they need it. We have needed one ourselves.

    Aug 04, 2015
  • anon

    Amen Sherry  Being a Breathing Buddy is an honor.   God is so good to use us.   Thank you for stopping by.  I am so glad you were blessed.

    Aug 04, 2015
  • anon

    That is an awesome illustration for how we're supposed to encourage and support one another!  Thanks for sharing!

    Aug 04, 2015
  • anon

    I agree!

    Aug 04, 2015
  • anon

    Leigh,  Thank you so much.   I love the way God uses past experiences, both good and bad, to teach us from His Word.    I thank Katy for being a breathing buddy to me.  She has helped me in more ways than she can imagine.

    Aug 04, 2015

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