Am I Thankful?

Sitting here, slowly succumbing to post-feast food coma, I feel content, even joyful. But am I thankful? Thanksgiving day is surely the most American of holidays. We set aside a whole day just to celebrate the plethora of good things we have in our lives, and we eat and drink to excess to celebrate the fact that we can eat and drink to excess!

If we are thankful, to whom are we giving thanks? The more religious minded among us might say "god", but that doesn't really work for a naturalist like myself. I suppose you could say I'm thankful to my beautiful new wife, who has inexplicably decided to overlook my obnoxious personality and saddle herself with me for the rest of our lives, and who makes one hell of a roasted turkey, as it turns out, but somehow I don't think that that kind of thanks is the sort intended by those who decreed a "thanksgiving day".

Sure, the creators of Thanksgiving had a more religious bent than I'm particularly comfortable with, but I think that they were just using the language of their day to express a need that is well beyond religion. That need, simply put, is to stop the buzz of day to day just long enough to take a few moments to reflect on all the good things in our lives. It's so easy to forget the positives we experience when we are challenged and stressed by work, money, family and such that we need an excuse to look back over our year and seek them out. It makes sense. It's beneficial to our health and sanity to stop to appreciate and understand the good fortune we have. You don't need a god to do this, either. Good is good, no matter whether you think an invisible friend helped you along or not.

I think henceforth, I shall refer the final Thursday of November as "Reflection Day"...


I recently started a thread on another venue named "Do you feel lucky yet?"
This was prompted by the latest National Geographic edition which showed women having to walk for hours to obtain a gallon or two of dirty water. Made me thirsty, so I drew a large glass of clean, cool water from my kitchen faucet. This water comes from our own well.
Alas, time to reflect! Good "fortune" seems to be directly related to where one happens to live. Not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to change our location at will. Some of us are and have done so. Thus, are we thankful, and if so, to whom or what? There is no cognizant invisible all-powerful being directing our lives behind the scenes, yet I believe that it is enough to just feel thankful for our individual good situations and circumstance.

Lucky = Causality

Hi Grumpy, welcome to my blog!

I agree that some folks are more fortunate than others just by the circumstances of their birth, or random happenstance. I don't believe in luck, however. Given the sequence of events that led up to the existence of one's nation/parents/etc, some being would have filled the space each of us resides in our reality. Each of us *is* that being. Luck has nothing to do with it, just causality.

I look forward to more of your comments!

About the Author

Despite a decade of Catholic school, I have never been a believer. I guess I was just born without the gene! Nevertheless, I've always tried to explore others' ideas and practices, on the theory that just because you can't use one part of a product, it doesn't mean you have to throw the whole thing away.
I spent over a decade traveling the world, and I've lived in both Europe and the US. I've read the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Koran. I've studied engineering, yoga, martial arts, shooting sports, and ballroom dancing. What I've discovered is that a) spirituality is just a spooky sounding word for any of a number of methods for learning about yourself and your mind, and b) whatever word you use, doing so is the single most important thing in learning to be happy.
My blog, The Passionate Rationalist ( is dedicated to my thoughts both on gaining self-knowledge and using your mind to eliminate misunderstanding and delusion.