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Remember to breathe,“ T says as I stand up after several hours of writing, and stretch. I’m reminded of the words, “Debbie, you don’t breathe.” The actor sitting beside me in the dressing room had noticed and said, “Breathe, girl, breathe!” I don’t remember her name…

They were both right. I forget to breathe. I remember getting through a dance performance once, one breath at a time. I made myself return to the stage following a bout with anxiety that messed with my breath. I thought I had developed asthma and tried sleeping while sitting up in a chair, but my struggle was on the inhalation, not exhalation. I eventually overcame it.

Breath, inflowing, outflowing air, life, Breath of Life, Bread of Life—these gifts are to be acknowledged with thankfulness.

I don’t take any of this for granted anymore. Giving thanks is key to living fully and with blessing. It also gives you power to multiply what you have. And, oh, I don’t mean in terms of tangible things, but intangible love and joy. Restored peace. New life within.

You take the little you have and lift it up, as Jesus did with the two fish and five loaves. What happened next? He gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his Disciples to share. Five thousand were fed that day, with leftovers.

Whether you interpret that story literally or metaphorically, this lesson keeps returning to me. And the lessons are hard. If nothing else, I throw up my hands at a loss and say, “Thanks for this mess!”? Well, maybe not. But when I start with, “Thank you,” my focus shifts.

And as I lift my eyes from the earth to the skies, I once again discover, it works.

Photos from the Urban Ecology Center last fall.

Scripture references from Matthew 14:15-21, 1Thessalonians 5:18

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