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What does Thanksgiving mean to me?

Thanksgiving means something different to everyone. Holidays can bring about a lot of mixed feelings for people, which means what’s fun and exciting for one person isn’t the same for someone else.

Personally, I love the holidays––I love getting to spend time with my family and relax amidst the stress of the semester. Being a college student in another state has taught me to cherish those moments even more than I used to and try to relish in them as much as I can. 

All situations are different, but my best advice is to remember to be thankful even when it’s tough. Remember that for every negative there is a positive. Relationships at home may be strained, but be thankful you have a home to come home to. Your life may be changing, but be thankful for every day you get to live it.

I may love the holidays, but that doesn’t mean they’re always easy. I’m so excited to come home to my family this Thanksgiving, but it’s not the picture-perfect moment we all see on TV. There’s togetherness, faithfulness, and thankfulness, but there’s also loss and heartbreak.

This Thanksgiving, there will be one less chair at the table. But rather than think about that empty seat, I’m going to be thinking of all the days that her chair was filled––not only on Thanksgiving, but everyday. My entire family is going to have to fill in the gaps for the entire meal she used to cook. It’s going to be hard to watch someone else prepare the meal, but we can still be thankful that she left us an entire cookbook of recipes behind.

This Thanksgiving I’m praying for lungs. I probably won’t be able to spend Thanksgiving with someone who needs family the most right now, but I’m thankful for calling and texting to stay connected. I’m thankful for all the memories we have together, and that an amazing team of doctors is working together to ensure that we’ll be able to make many more.

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for those who may be spending their last here on earth. I’m thinking of a family who’s spending what will most likely be their last Thanksgiving with a beloved family member. We can all be thankful for the years they’ve spent together and the opportunity to celebrate a holiday together one last time.

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my family, both lost and here; I’m thankful for my family, both sick and healthy. I’m thankful for all of my family because they’ve shaped me into the person I am today and haven’t given up on me for a moment.

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for today and every day that God gives me. Holidays are a happy time, but this Thanksgiving I’m thinking about how short life is. This past year has shown me how finite our lives are, yet how infinite our love is for those who are close to us.

Be thankful even when it’s hard. The years are few but the days are many. Spend this day giving thanks with those you love.

Brianna Strohbehn is a junior at Winona State University and a small-town girl from central Iowa. Brianna is studying English, double majoring in writing and applied and professional writing with hopes of someday becoming an editor at a publishing firm. When she isn't writing, Brianna enjoys thrifting, reading, exploring her new home in Winona, and spending time with family and friends.
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