Breath of Gratitude by Tim Atkins, http://www.timatkins.net/
Originally written for and told at the November 16, 2014 worship on Gratitude at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
[Note: Begin with a heart shaped balloon that’s inflated, but not tied shut.]
First, he broke his glasses while he was trying to clean them. They snapped right in the middle where they rested on his nose. His mom had to superglue them together! It was so embarrassing and he was just so angry they couldn’t go get another pair. He was so angry, he felt his heart deflate some. [deflate balloon]
And it was so cold outside he couldn’t go play. He hated when it got cold because he loved going outside to run and play. Sometimes he could go outside and play in the snow, but this the worst kind of cold – the kind without any snow! He was so angry, he felt his heart deflate a little more. [deflate balloon]
Since he couldn’t play outside, he decided to play with his cat. They were playing chase the feathers with the long feather stick thing, and he was having a good enough time. Eventually he went down to pet his cat and it scratched him! He was so angry, he felt his heart deflate a little more. [deflate balloon]
All day long bad things kept happening, and by the end of the day his heart felt totally deflated, and completely empty. He hoped that tomorrow would be better, but he wasn’t holding out too much hope.
That night he had the strangest dream. When he woke up, he remembered a voice telling him that he was going to have a chance to redo the day! He was excited because he hoped that he could turn his horrible terrible day around. But he also remembered the voice saying that he should be thankful.
Well, his day started off the same. Although he tried not to, he still broke his glasses. But he remembered what the voice in the dream said, and he decided to try and not get so angry. When his mom came to fix them with super glue again, this time he said “Thank you mom!” And he noticed how his mom gave him a relieved smiled in return. When he said thanks, his heart began to inflate. [inflate balloon]
And when he wasn’t allowed outside, and had to stay inside, he said thanks for having a house to stay in when it was cold outside! He knew not everyone had such a warm place to be on a cold day. And when he said thanks, his heart inflated just a little bit more. [inflate balloon]
When he started to play with his cat, he could tell that she got really excited. And when he went to pet her he still got scratched. But this time, he knew it was because she was still excited and wanted to play some more. “Thank you kitty,” he said. “For playing with me!” And when he said thanks, his heart inflated just a little bit more. [inflate balloon]
All day long, the same bad things happened, but this time, he found a way to say thanks. And by the end of the day, his heart felt full. Every time you say thanks to someone, your heart swells just a little bit more. Saying thanks is like breathing life into your heart and soul.
So, let’s try saying thank you together. On the count of three, I want you to say Thank You. Ok? One, two three.
Did you feel your heart swell just a little?
Ok, now I want you to think of something bad that happened to you this week. Can you. Ok. Have it in mind? Now I want you to think of something, anything, that you could have been thankful for during that something bad. And on the count of three, let’s say thank you again. Ok? One, two three.
Did you feel your heart swell just a little bit more with the breath of gratitude and love?
Ok. And finally, at the count of three, I want you to shout thank you as loud as you can, and be warned folks with sensitive ears I think we’re going to be quite a bit loud here so be prepared. Ok? One, two, three.
Wow. My heart is so full it feels like it could just pop right out of my chest. May all of us remember to say thank you and breathe the love of gratitude into our hearts.