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Today MindSieve features a guest writer*; a very special young woman, age 14 who wrote and delivered this homily in her church on Sunday. Enjoy!
"Waking up at 6:30 for school is not always pleasant nor is it easy but then the hard part really begins. I stand in front of my dresser wondering what I want to wear, what I should wear, and slowly the minutes tick by making me even more rushed then I was before. I could have picked out anything easily and that task would be finished…but what matches, and what’s the temperature outside? With the constant pull of fashion magazines, and what’s in and out, the pressure for people to buy things, whether necessary or frivolous, is unending. I am pretty sure when we all look in the mirror, we are not thinking whether or not God would like the way we did our hair that morning, and he probably doesn’t care if that shirt matches those pants. Matthew says in the Gospel this morning, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Birds are fed, plants get their needed sunlight, and bugs still buzz whether or not our outfits match. And more importantly, God will still love us and protect us.
Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in the lives we live, as we are driven by our constant worries. As a freshman in high school, a day of school is never finished without the regular reminders of homework, tests, quizzes, project deadlines, and other due dates. The amount of work may not compare to a college student’s, but staying up until eleven just to finish the necessary work for the next day is exhausting. Not only is it exhausting, but also it is distracting. One cannot fully appreciate the life they are given when they are constantly complaining about the workload. Every day I hear my peers say, “I hate my life, or, this is a boring town”. However, when we compare our lives to those around us, or those abroad, can no one realize or see how good our lives truly are? It is more important to look beyond the clothing… beyond our list of things to get done… beyond our individual struggles… and find out what truly matters. When thousands of people are starving and running around barely clothed, are our day to day worries all that bad? When people are worried if they are going to live another day due to the Genocide in Darfur, should we really hate our lives? It is important that on this Sunday, and as we approach Thanksgiving to remember what is really important, and what we should, in actuality, spend our money and time on. This does not mean that there are times when we do not have real worries, real sorrow; and it does not mean that we shouldn’t want nice things for ourselves, or be frustrated with our lives every once in a while. We are human and we are all God’s children. If we were all perfect, there would be no need for a god to guide us.
All through my elementary school life I remember making paper turkeys by tracing my hand and then writing what I was thankful for. Of course this included the more conventional things such as: “I’m thankful for my friends… or family… or my dogs… and every now and then you would hear a kid say, “I’m thankful for my GameCube.”
However, as I’ve grown up I have realized that there are many more things that we, as young children, were shielded and protected from. And as I grow, I find that I have a better grasp on what I am truly thankful for, what family truly is, and what friends truly are. Everyone has their own definition of family, but mine would be - A group of people who love you no matter what you may do. And my definition for friends is - people who will stand by your side no matter what. Now…. nobody on those little paper turkeys ever puts church as something they are thankful for. Maybe they take it for granted, or maybe we, as young children, have just spent the whole church service asking our mom or dad when will this be over?! As an acolyte I have been able to experience church fully, and by doing this I have experienced an entire new meaning of family, friends, and church. When we are down, we need somebody; when we are sick, sad or depressed, we need somebody. And because of this church environment, we have somebody.
In this time of thanksgiving, it is important to remember what thanksgiving really means, which is: the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits, or favors, esp. to God. This Thanksgiving, truly appreciate the lives you are given, the family and friends that surround you, the community of church that you are in, and God, who gave his life for you.
This year if I were back in elementary school and had the opportunity to make a little thanksgiving turkey, I would be sure to include my church, and our God who made all of this possible. Amen
*Writer is the eldest granddaughter of Sunrise Sister