Yesterday at school, I was grading student work. The topic, naturally, was thankfulness.
"I am thankful for earth, shelter, food, water, oxygen, a family, love, freedom, education, and pretty much everything."
Of course, this answer made me laugh. Who is thankful for oxygen?
But later, I thought, he is so right! We should be thankful for oxygen! Without it, life would be pretty bleak. A vacuum. The opposite of life. No-thing-ness.
It's easy enough to set aside one day to pay lip service to all we have. Most of the essays I looked at yesterday held the variation we still regurgitate as adults on such occasions; Family, friends, good food, a nice home.
Sure, we are grateful for those things. They are wonderful and we appreciate them, or at the very least, remember that we are supposed to appreciate them.
But what about just breathing? What about the tremendous and awe inspiring gift of life?
Your life is worth something merely because you exist. There is nothing you can do (or not do!) to make it worth less.
You can screw up the turkey. You can have a shouting match with your father right at the dinner table in front of all your relatives. You can be a Kardashian. You could have failed the bar exam (or passed the bar exam!). You could eat Thanksgiving dinner alone in a booth at Denny's. You could have negative five hundred dollars in your checking account.
Your life could be a failure (or a success) by all the measures of our culture, and you could still have this precious gift of life to be grateful for. Spend a moment basking in the glow of that knowledge on this Thankgiving Day. How tremendous. How humbling.