Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

The big day is finally here! We'll enjoy it with football, extended family, baking, cooking, and feasting.
This morning I continued my tradition of watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while Mom baked pies in the kitchen. Now we're just taking it easy till it's time to see the rest of the family and have the big dinner. Everything's perfect. Life couldn't get better than on this day of giving thanks, and there is so much to be thankful for...

Until it's all gone.

On this Thanksgiving day, I'd like you to join me for a moment as I imagine myself away from the life I'm so familiar with.

I live on the streets. I eat what I can get. I live at the mercy of those who would harm me. I try to hide, but it's almost not even worth it anymore. I'll spend today hungry and cold, like everyday, with an inner pining for something I've never known...a real family. Today I'll see families together, eating plenty, warm in their nice coats, and in the love they share. But I will try to find a warmer place to sleep. I am one in over 1,000,000 children in America, and I am alone.

I live in a hut. My mother died of aids many years ago. My grandmother died yesterday. I have three younger siblings. They have no adults to look after them anymore; they look to me. We have no food. I'll search the village for food tomorrow, but I will not eat, so they will not starve. I am sick, and rapidly growing worse. I am one in 15,000,000 children around the world, and my only prayer is that I may live long enough to teach my siblings to care for themselves.

I am just trying to survive this winter. When our friends arrived a few months ago, we were so overjoyed that we didn't notice they had brought none of their own provisions. Our small village was struggling as it was. During the cold season, when we should be eating more than usual to stay strong and healthy, we are forced to hunger. At first, our daily rations were cut in half. But it still wasn't enough to feed everyone. The rations kept growing smaller and smaller. It wasn't enough to sustain many of my friends, and I'm afraid it won't be enough to sustain me. Our daily fare is now five kernels of corn. I am a Pilgrim, full of dreams of life in a new world, and I will die before the day is done.

I think that in this modern age, especially in America, we are so blessed that we forget how to really be thankful. Thanksgiving is so full of fun traditions, feasting, and holiday cheer. It's easy to be thankful. But what if your life was different? What if you were homeless? What if you hadn't been born in America? What if you had been a Pilgrim? Would your gratitude be grounded in something stronger than the easy life you live or the things you possess?
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you do enjoy all those wonderful traditions, see all the family you love and eat all the pie you can! But most of all, I hope you take a little bit longer to think about what you're truly grateful for, and that no matter what happens, your gratitude is grounded in something that can't be taken away.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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