24 November 2011

a thanksgiving post

Would you like to know something interesting about Thanksgiving? The "first" one - you know, with the Natives and the Englishmen and Massasoit and all his men - was not the first, hence the quotes around "first".
Thanksgiving was actually a tradition among the native peoples. So the holiday is literally ingrained in the American tradition, which makes it even more special.
But today is not about the food we eat; as my How To Read Literature Like A Professor book says, meals in literature are usually symbolic. And in life, this feast symbolizes a harvest and a celebration of our achievements and what we are happy to have in our lives.
We had this really nice turkey that my parents spent most of the day cooking and we also had mashed potatoes, squash, rice, pie, cake, stuffing, green beans, and muffins! So it was really great and we had a fun time watching the parades, the dog show (it's the biggest one of the year), and hanging out. Plus, my dad's cousin came over and we had a really fun time.
So we always say a prayer before we eat Thanksgiving dinner, and we usually give thanks for the meal and for each other. When I was little, I would always do this because we would also say prayers at my old school (Catholic school) and we'd say it before snack. But I never actually thought about it. I sort of said it emptily. It was like it was expected, so I said it.
But I didn't really back those words with meaning. But now that I'm older and wiser (well, just a little more perceptive), I know that really there is so much to be thankful for that I can't even list it all here. Nor will I ever be able to crack the surface in my lifetime. The things I have - material and intangible - will always be so great that I will unfortunately not be able to appreciate all of it in my lifetime. But when I sit and think about it, the list is infathomably long.
To begin, I spent today in my huge, brand new house with my family, and we had a huge feast. And in America, there are tons of people who can't even afford that. I saw this photo gallery of celebrities helping out in LA at this Thanksgiving food distribution for people who cannot afford their own meal.
There are some people around the world who cannot even get a meal all day today, and they might get something half-edible tomorrow. They will never be financially secure. And on the other hand, I personally have never had to worry about that, and even when I live by myself, I probably won't worry about it nearly as much as some other people in the country and the world.
Another thing: the other day I got a letter from one of the most dangerous countries on earth right now, from an American soldier. Who is not with his family today, not in his own country, and surrounded by people who fear him, strongly dislike him, or could potentially harm him. He lives in danger ever day.
I have neevr experienced war, poverty, lack of shelter, money, or safety. I haven't lived life as it si defined by the difficulties we must endure.
We all have our own struggles and problems, and they are difficult and sometimes they seem insurmountable. Sometimes we can't even find someone to turn to for help; it can seem impossible to find that one person who can actually understand how you feel.
But life has ways of working magic on us.
I have heard that the 3 main requirements for life are food, water, and shelter.
Yet there are billions of homeless people and starving people.
And when there are so many without food, water, and shelter, I can't help but think that if the porbability of being so disadvatged is so high, why do I have so much? How did I come to acquire this much, and seem to have little wrong with me?
So today, after you have read this, do a little Thanksgiving relfection. Go to a comfy chair and thnk. Or take a walk. Or stand on your head. Whatever you would like. Just thiknk, for even a few minutes, about what you are truly thankful for.
For me, it's obviously my family first. My parents do eveything for me, and they are always there to talk to and help me, with say, AP Macro homework, or trying to cut down a college essay to fit into the parameters. And my siblings are always there for those times when I want to laugh about something stupid, or play a game of Monopoly, or play in the backyard, or talk about anything and everything.

My friends are always there for me too. Liike the other day when I had a really terrible day, I stayed up late telling some of them about it and they gave me advice and listened to me while I vented. They also give me rides when I don't have anyone to pick me up, and they are always there to share a laugh - which is usually everyday!
Also, I'm pretty healthy, I have access to healthcare of all sorts in one of the most affluent countries on earth, and I live in a safe environment with all sorts of opportunities.
We aren't all born with great opportunities. And there si no way we can have everything, and that we can always be content with how things are going in life. But 99.999% of the time, my life is amazing. And I have a huge list of things to be thankful for, including this blog that has let me ponder about life more deeply, and to come to this realization.

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