Core Decorum: Giving thanks

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Illustration courtesy of Cecilia Lang

Thanksgiving break cannot come quickly enough. I’m sure this is something we can all agree on. Between putting the finishing touches on essays, last minute study sessions and 1:00 a.m. trips to the print lab, I’m thoroughly worn out and ready for a break. 

This one week of break provides hope to hundreds of harried students as we struggle through the final parts of the semester. We’ve woken up and worked and worried without pause and we finally have the chance to taste real home cooking.

However, this upcoming holiday isn’t just about the delicious food or finally realigning our sleep schedules. Thanksgiving allows us a chance to re-center our lives. Each year, we surround ourselves with our loved ones and are given a moment to acknowledge what is truly important.  

When we’re at school, we often focus solely on what assignments we need to complete and forget about everything else in our lives. Our priorities are based not on what we value in our lives, but on what deadlines are coming up. 

Thanksgiving is a time for us to set these temporary responsibilities aside and be grateful for the countless blessings in our lives. We have more to be thankful for than we would ever have time to list. 

Even though we have a whole holiday named “Thanksgiving,” I still find myself caring more about what food is being cooked that day than the things for which I ought to give thanks. Society as a whole seems to follow a format of valuing the wrong things in life, in any situation.

We’re told that we should value our incomes over our familial relationships, and time at work over time with friends. We find emphasis being placed more often on our physical possessions, those things that we can see, rather than abstract values such as love and friendship. 

Life becomes boiled down to work and rest. When we give thanks, we eliminate these dichotomies and instead acknowledge our lives as beautiful gifts from God. 

However, as easy as it is to talk about it, I still struggle with giving thanks in my own life. Although I call them several times a week, I hardly ever tell my parents I love them. My friends are my greatest support system, but they rarely ever hear me say it to them. 

I’ve been given everything I could ask for and more. Even so, it’s only when I’m consciously reminded of these gifts that I take the time to appreciate them.

As humans, it’s hard to be grateful for everything. If we were constantly acknowledging all the blessings in our lives, we would never have a moment of respite. It’s why we have a holiday dedicated to giving thanks. Take the time this Thanksgiving break to eat, visit and enjoy your time with your loved ones. In this brief instant, our lives won’t be in constant motion. It’s our turn to show our appreciation and to bask in God’s greatness.

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