I had an appointment for a medical scan Friday morning in Atlanta, which is almost a two-hour drive on a good day with little traffic. Since there is rarely a good day with little traffic in Atlanta, and since I had to be there at 8:30, we left our house around 6 a.m. It was still dark, but before long a pink glow in the eastern sky signaled the coming sunrise. My husband was driving, so I was able to sit and watch the sky brighten, with colors growing more intense over the black silhouette of the trees in the distance.

I was mesmerized by the view, and by the realization that a beautiful and breathtaking sunrise never fails to stop me in my tracks, even though it’s something that occurs every single day. Maybe it’s because I’m not often up and outside early enough to see it that it never loses its appeal. Or because, even though the sun rising is a daily occurrence, it still looks a little different every time, depending on where I am when I’m viewing it, what the weather is like, and what time of year it is.

This got me thinking about some of the things that are “always there.” The things we take so much for granted that we don’t even think of them when we list the things we take for granted, which I sometimes do when a storm knocks out the electricity.

During my scan in Atlanta – which, by the way, showed that everything is fine – I spent about an hour being told, “Breathe in… Breathe out… Hold your breath… Okay, breathe normally.” Now, breathing normally is something I usually do 24 hours a day without even thinking about it. But when someone tells me to breathe normally, it’s the hardest thing in the world to do. Especially after I’ve been holding my breath.

Breathing normally works best when we don’t have to think about it. And that’s a good thing, because it means our breathing apparatus is working properly. Anyone who’s ever had an illness or disease that affects breathing – from pneumonia, to COPD, to COVID, or anything else that makes breathing difficult or painful – would probably tell you how much they wished they could take breathing for granted, and do it without even thinking about it.

There are many things in our everyday lives that we take for granted, that we usually don’t even think about, and that we assume will always be there – at least when everything is working properly and running smoothly. But even though we don’t think about them regularly, that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate them. And when they do come to mind, for whatever reason, we should take a few minutes to recognize that these are the things we should be most grateful for. Things like a beautiful sunrise. A breath of fresh air. And the reminder of how fortunate we are to have them.

May 2, 2021
©Betty Liedtke, 2021

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