How often do you have to tell yourself to breathe? Most of us don’t do that. Breathing just happens. There are many things that we don’t really think about, we just do it, things like breathing are really just second nature. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for breath, grateful for breathing and grateful for not having to tell myself to breathe. I feel blessed for the every day common things like breath. I know that many of us will be with family this week and I expect there will be lots of things that people will think of to be grateful for.
Sometimes I think we over look the absolutely extraordinary because it doesn’t seem extraordinary at all … breathing. We don’t even have to tell ourselves to do it, our brains handle it without us ever knowing the message signal has been sent. And yet, if it didn’t happen, that would be a problem. So, breathe and be grateful that your body does get the signal.
Whenever our kids have been in stressful situations, my husband has often said to them, breathe. It’s a reminder to slow down, remember who they are and what they are capable of, do a re-set, take a deep breath, breathe in calm and then move forward. When I am approaching a tough task, I often take a deep breath before I dive in.
Being able to breathe is taken for granted though. Two of our daughters had asthma often when they were young and breathing was not taken for granted at all during these times. How do you tell a child to breathe when their airways are constricted? And in addition to their airways being constricted, they are scared and panicked. Fortunately, we find ways to calm them, we give them breathing treatments with a nebulizer that assists in opening their airways and once the stress dissipates, the brain takes over and they breathe on their own again. That’s what usually happens.
Life is precious and we get moments like Thanksgiving when we are reminded to breathe. There has been so much going on in 2017, some people really have to tell themselves to breathe and be grateful even though things are bad. Hurricanes, earthquakes, sexual misconduct allegations, on the verge of world war III, white nationalist rallies, and so on. How do we tell ourselves to breathe when there is stress all around us. How do people in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Houston or the Florida Keys tell themselves to breathe when they’ve lost everything? How do the families of the earthquake victims in Mexico feel grateful and still breathe when they feel such despair?
For one minute of the day, instead of sprinting through it, think about your breathing. How many breaths do you actually take in a minute? How amazing is it that you don’t actually have to think about all of that. How cool is that? That alone is a lot to be thankful for. It’s been so easy to take it for granted. Imagine how it would be if you had to think about each breath.
Our bodies know how to breathe even if we don’t think about it. Breathing is second nature. You don’t have to tell yourself to breathe. God made our brains do the work for us. By staying in the present and choosing to be grateful, we can always find something to be thankful for. Surrender to the present moment and let God do the breathing for you. All we have to do is be grateful. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for a lot of things, many are big things but many are little things. Just thinking about breathing helps me to think of the little things that I might take for granted. Sometimes it’s the little things that count too.