Giving Thanks or Overindulgence?

Somehow this year, I find myself a lot more grateful for what my life is. Having a mini-identity crisis earlier this year, not knowing if I was going to have a job or where I was going to live really helped me to appreciate my life. I get to be creative. I get to work with kids. I get to do arts and crafts and read and not have to worry about having to move back to my hometown out of necessity.

When I’m so grateful for every day, Thanksgiving seems a little bit silly. This will be the first year that I have not spent Thanksgiving with my immediate family, and while I am  not happy that I will miss this year’s dinner together, I’m okay. I will still get to spend time with some fun people, and I will still eat food, and most importantly, I will still be thankful. I think the importance of this holiday is spending time with people you care about and celebrating the good things in life, however small or great they may appear to others.

The past two days I’ve been in the food bank again, talking to people as they picked up their turkey baskets. When I say baskets, what I really mean is brown paper bags with canned food, with a bird, and some potatoes. It’s enough to capture the spirit of the day and to give these 150 families a meal for a day that our country considers imperative to developing and maintaining family unity. I talked to the people who had waited in the rain for up to 30 minutes in order to pick up these holiday meals, and I was once more reminded of how well off I am. Digression to follow: honestly, that’s one thing that I am struck by every day–how good my life is. The kids are cold because they don’t have jackets and gloves, these families don’t have enough to make it through a week of good food, and there are many whose energy is shut off. They don’t have an opportunity to get a formal education, and many of them cannot find even a part time job. When I look at all of that, and I think about my life, I remember that I am incredibly blessed.

This year I will eat a good meal on Thursday. I will enjoy the company of new friends and I will not stuff myself with food because that is not the point of the day for me. The point is to appreciate the memories that will be created that day, and the thankfulness that I will express as I sit in a warm, dry house.

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