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Op-Ed: Thanksgiving —What are you thankful for?

Special for Samoa News

The tablecloth is spread on the table. Each note, print, and message penned a memorable thankful moment of God’s blessings on our lives. It is a display of reflection and recognition to each member of the family for the wonderful family experience shared throughout the years. At Thanksgiving this year, new cherished moments are added to the display of fond memories each person is thankful for. The tablecloth was filled with new milestones. These imprints add on to the recorded memories of blessings from God and for the love of family.

As my family gathered around the table to enjoy the lavish feast and to enjoy each other’s company this Thanksgiving, I take this time to sift through my pages of thankful moments to thank the two men who made a difference to my family.

My father, Tauaa Li Vaouli and his brother Afuiai Faititi Vaouli began a tradition where their wives and children would gather on White Sunday and Christmas to enjoy the abundance of food and share a wonderful time with each other.

It is a tradition that goes beyond feasting on lavish meals and sharing of memorable stories. It is about  “Family” and “Peace.” The message of this meaningful tradition sinks deeper in our hearts today because it mattered to them. It is through this tradition that the promises of God’s blessings, goodness, and faithfulness are enjoyed.

Who would even think that these two men would come up with such an idea when they were drinking beer in the afternoon until sunset? Many times we would hear them reminisce about their childhood memories, reflect on their struggles and accomplishments, share family histories, and admire their children. At times they would argue but made peace with a simple hug. Whatever it was, it was definitely a great idea to cherish.

Although they left us after battles with cancer, the tradition continues.  Thanksgiving, New Year, and first Sundays of every month are added to the list and each year we look forward to sharing family experiences and stuffing ourselves with the delicious meals.

My family continues to live in peace and find comfort in the teachings my dad and uncle instilled in us. It was a moral lesson that grew from the depth of their hearts and expressed through their daily proceedings.

As I enjoy the presence of peace and family, I am reminded of those who do not receive the same.

I pray that they received the peace and comfort of God on this Thanksgiving.

The tablecloth is now folded with my family’s thankful memories. It is a sentimental legacy that was started by our forefathers and strengthened our existence in this world. 

What are you thankful for?