Well it's Thanksgiving, and what do I have to be thankful for? It seems like most holidays, the true meaning of Thanksgiving has been lost. Most people get together and have a big dinner, but why? Thanksgiving is two things: one, it's a remembrance of the Pilgrims and there struggle to survive in a harsh world (they managed, thanks to "providence" and of course, the "Indians" who understood how not to die in the untamed American wilderness). Secondly, Thanksgiving is a time for contemplation and reflection, a time to sit back and think about what we have. No matter how bad things get you always have something to be thankful for. Right now I have a cold, and I'm miserable...imagine if I had cancer or some other horrible disease? Health. You always have your health to be thankful for.
Family. I'm thankful that most of my family is alive and well (even though I can't be with them today). I'm thankful that I have Leah and her stupid dog Rusty. The older I get, the more inclusive the term "family" gets. I always thought it was the opposite, for some reason...that with time your idea of family (as well as your actual family) would shrink in size, but that's not the case at all. I love Leah and by bringing her into my life I have met a whole new rouge's gallery of strange people I inexplicably love.
Opportunity. I'm thankful for all the opportunities I've ever gotten (especially the ones I didn't deserve). I've been an unemployed college student for two and a half years, and I've had a much easier life than anyone should ever get. I'm thankful for that and the opportunity to attend (and graduate) college. It was a lot of work, but coming up with the money was just as much (if not more) work! I'm thankful for all those people who have chipped in over the past few years.
Existence. It may seem that I'm scrapping the bottom of the barrel here, but I'm thankful to exist! If you stop and think about it, existence is a pretty strange/wonderful thing. Have you ever thought about how strange it is to be alive? And have you ever thought about how petty everything is compared to the awesomeness that is existence? I don't, at least, not enough...but the next time you're down because you had a bad day consider this: it's a miracle that you're alive! It's a miracle I'm alive! Celebrate that for a while, see if your bad day isn't put into perspective.
The Service of Others. Lastly, I am thankful that there are people on this planet who are selfless enough to serve the common good. I hate war, it is our worst invention, but there are people who must be fought, and I'm thankful there are people willing to fight the good fight. I'm also thankful for those who dedicate themselves to making the world a better place--bell ringers, bake sale bakers, telethon sponsors, philanthropists in all shapes and sizes...because sometimes all you need is a little help, and then everything is fine.
So today, when you sit down to eat your turkey (or tofu-bird) take a moment to pause and think about the true meaning of Thanksgiving (hint: it's in the name).