Put your hand on your heart and say, -I Know that I'm grateful.-Breathe deeply.

Anyone following my Instagram feed knows that I’ve been up to my topknot in organization projects this month. We’re sprinting to get away rooms and quiet spaces and living spaces and sleeping spaces and art spaces and work spaces sorted out before our homeschool resumes in September. Meanwhile, we have therapists over a couple of times a week to help us learn how to work with our little one with autism. And there’s another 10 trashbags worth of outgrown baby and toddler clothes to sort and give away. And a scriptorium that needs piecing together. And an office that needs to be rearranged. And, and, and. Plus everyday living: eating, laughing, singing, stories.

Today I stood in the kitchen and glanced at the steady flame of the beeswax candle burning in our prayer corner. I felt happy, but still frazzled. I remembered the little trick for settling runaway anxiety. Place your hand on your chest and say aloud, “I know that I’m anxious.” Breathe three times.

But I wasn’t anxious. I was tired. I have 5 small children and am middle aged. I’m dismantling cribs and baby gates as my toddlers master them and climb out of them. I have plantar fasciitis in one foot and a wicked Duplo bruise on the bottom of the other one. But that’s not anxiety. It’s knowing that I need to take care of myself. So what was the matter?

Then it came to me while I waited for the tea to steep. I put my hand over my heart and said aloud,

“I know that I’m grateful.”

The deep breath that followed dropped down grace along with my shoulders. I felt the tension leave me.

My youngest son, the one whose brain works a bit differently, only had a few words when he was supposed to have 100, but those words were zingers. He would cry out in pure joy in the middle of the night, “Ever, ever, ever! It IS! It IS! It IS!” I would wake up when he sang like that with the light of heaven pressed on my eyes, always surprised to find that the room was still dark.

His little voice was the answer to my grownup worried prayers. When? When? When? How long, O Lord? Is there healing? Is there a Balm in Gilead? Is there peace? If I could hold a grain of the joy with which he sang, I would have the mustard seed that moves mountains.

“I know that I’m grateful.”

When I said those words today (and not just the once), I felt that joy come home in me.

“I know that I’m grateful.”

Ever, ever, ever! It is. It is. It IS! 

We’re so often advised to slow down. Don’t miss it! Savor life. Live in the moment.

But our bodies are often left in a loop of anxieties and stress. We hold onto tensions far longer than we need to. We watch the doors and windows long after the danger has passed.

“I know that I’m grateful.”

Gratitude got us through the dark night, and it will open the path to us right now.

Let your body in on your present joys. Stop. Put your hand on your heart. Know that you are grateful.