An Atheist’s Thanksgiving

Confession: Thanksgiving is one of my least favorite holidays. (I know, bah humbug, right?)

Norman Rockwell's "Freedom From Want"

A holiday devoted to time with friends and family during which you gorge yourself and jabber around the dinner table? What could be better? It’s like Christmas, only instead of having to brave the wild-eyed insanity of the mall, you only have to deal with the other crazy grocery-shoppers. It seems like it should be the perfect holiday.

And yes, all of that is right down my alley. I dream of long, beautifully dressed tables, surrounded by people I love enjoying themselves.

But the idea of giving thanks is what trips me up. It’s like one of those verbs that requires an object- it implies that you are giving thanks to someone. Which is rather problematic to those of us who, you know, don’t believe in that all-powerful someone. (I have the same problem with ‘bless you’ after a sneeze. I’ve over-thought this, I know. But, like Popeye, I yam what I yam–which is weirdly appropriate, given today’s menu. )

Nonetheless, sitting here in my quiet little house on Thanksgiving morning, coffee in hand and cat in lap, I must admit that my life is going quite well. I’d say the last couple of months has been the most difficult period of my adult life… and I’m healthy, there’s plenty of food in the pantry, there are people in my life that I care about and that care about me, I’ve got a cozy house (which, since the sister came to visit yesterday, is CLEAN, and so absolutely lovely) (I cleaned it, don’t worry, I’m not forcing scrubbing brushes into the hands of visitors–though that is an excellent idea now that you mention it), and my biggest problem with my studies is that I literally can’t take all the classes that look fascinating in the amount of time I have left.

Life, even by my exacting standards, is pretty damn good.

So, while I don’t believe in giving thanks to an all-powerful amorphous non-entity, I’ve got a bone-deep belief that articulating the positives in life helps you to focus on those, rather than the minor crap that can irritate the living daylights out of you.

So here’s to looking on the bright side of life!

Anyway– Happy Good-Stuff-Articulation Day! (do ya think it’ll catch on?)

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