Thanksgiving Day. It’s that time of the year again, when families settle down together to give thanks for the things they have been provided. The best way to do so? Through a feast. I assume that if Thanksgiving were bereft of the iconic turkey and accompanying foods, it wouldn’t be as popular. It is also the one day of the year when one can shamelessly gobble down as many savory calories as one’s heart desires. This mix of familial communion and food really just makes for the perfect holiday. Of course, one can argue that as with Valentine’s Day and its romance, it is rather deplorable to have a day to single out a day to give thanks. One, it is natural for people to take things for granted – it is quite difficult to be consciously thankful for everything everyday (kudos to those who are that appreciative of life, but this mindset is not very prevalent, from my experience). Two, how often can you get a break from school or work, gather with the ones you love, and eat what is perhaps the most delicious meal of the year? I think that experience of such bliss and lightheartedness in itself is an homage (conscious or not) to the most important things God provides in our lives – food and family. I’m perfectly fine with it, and would gladly partake in such festivities.
So… what am I particularly thankful for? Last year, I made a list. Here it is. Well, what about this year? What am I thankful for? I think I’m going to make two lists: one for the usual, and one for the things I really take for granted.
The usual. I think these are the ones that come to mind for many people and are definitely vital:
- God – the provider of everything and everyone.
- Family – they’re good to me.
- Friends – they care.
- Food – to some degree, life itself.
- Swarthmore – 4 years of dedicated learning.
- USA– this place really isn’t bad as everybody makes it seems.
- Comfort – shelter, and always having a back-up plan.
- Internet – I can do so much on here.
- Nature – it is so beautiful, definitely visible at Swat
Now for the things I really take for granted. These are the things that I really don’t notice at all, unfortunately. But in actuality, these things are pretty central to me.
- Sanitation (toilet/sanitation systems) – I don’t know what I would do with these. Oh my goodness.
- Bible – the guide to life?
- Bedding (pillow, sleeping bag) – one of the more valuable things in my life
- Transportation – I cannot imagine walking everywhere
- Clothes – cotton > wool.
- Music – life would be so boring without music.
- Freedom – America is actually a free place, relatively.
- Water – I love water. Second to soy milk in terms of beverages.
- Warmth – I can’t imagine living without warmth (clothes, heaters, stoves, hot water)
- Religious freedom – This is a BFD.
- Lighting – the sun can’t do everything.
- Laptop – the sum of my productivity
- Education – there are places that focus solely on education – they’re called learning institutions
- Colors – what if life actually were black and white…? Quite interesting.
- Experiences – esp. those that thrust me out of my first-world-problems bubble.
Honorary mention: Chris – I’m staying at his home for Thanksgiving, with his quite-interesting and very welcoming family. I’m quite grateful for the gesture and chance to partake in such a wonderful holiday with such great people. Definitely not forgetting this experience, even though I didn’t take any pictures (camera broke). There was the classic American turkey, creamy mashed-potatoes, non-canned cranberry sauce, salad, Asiatic-cooked (stir-fry?) Brussels sprouts, American-cooked (there was bacon) Brussels sprouts, yams, home-made apple pie, and perfectly-textured gravy. I know. It’s like something from a movie, right? Well, it isn’t. Thanksgiving dinners EXIST! Everything was so delish. Oh goodness, I’m already drooling (not really, but more of an expression to show how good everything tasted). Oh, I forgot. FIREPLACE! They had logs burning in a fireplace. Quite the cherry on top of a great Thanksgiving. Mmmhmm!
Okay. Let’s get to the real reason why I began writing this post. A time for great food and heartwarming communion amalgamated into one perfect day. A day of showing a part of what’s truly importantly in life. That’s what Thanksgiving Day is about.
What Thanksgiving Day is NOT, is the lemming-like kick-off of the holiday shopping season exemplified by the after-Thanksgiving dinner camping outside malls and shopping centers by consumers so frantic and eager to get their hands on some delectable door-buster deals. Phew, I’m out of breath. I think that made sense, or at least I hope I did. Anyway, what irks me so is that there is such an irony in Black Friday occurring right after Thanksgiving Day. Heck, this year, Black Friday is beginning at 9:00pm night! You might as well call if Black Thursday, or Black Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, to me, is supposed to be restful and joyous. I don’t see how one can fully enjoy that when one’s mind turns away from “what’s important in life” to such material goods. It just bothers me so much that consumers are willing to go to such extent to get what they call “once-in-a-lifetime deals”. I understand not everybody celebrates Thanksgiving Day with turkey and mashed potatoes, but I do understand everybody (I hope) gets a break. If you’re well off enough to afford grand shopping sprees on Black Friday, you’re well off enough to have a job that allows a day off and do something with those you love. I don’t want to sound like an old man, finger-pointing at others what I don’t do (or do) and accusing them of such deplorable behavior. I just believe this situation to be representative of a potentially great family time being invaded by less important things. That’s my spiel about what Thanksgiving Day is not.
I think I had a pretty great day today. I hope it was also great for everybody else. For those not as fortunate as me, prayers that they will experience or will have experienced something like this sometime – it’s not exclusive at all to the fourth Thursday of November.