Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful to Something or Someone?

Last week I asked you to "cook up" some gratitude. Let's play philosopher and dig a little deeper. 

It is my underlying belief that when we are thankful, we are thankful to Someone, not Something.

While as some folks, like Shirley MacLaine, thank the really big Something--the universe. Her Santa Fe ranch includes a stone spiral labyrinth.   It's her go-to spot when she  "had decisions to make, or I wanted to thank the universe for something." (WSJ, April 18, 2014) 

Photo by Widosu underCreative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 |Source

I tried to imagine that. Giving thanks assumes that the thanker acknowledges a benefit, a favor grated by the thank-ee.  What benefit does the universe grant to me? Dark holes? Stars? Galaxies I cannot imagine? Although a particle physicist might disagree, I don't think those things make any difference in my daily life. 

 While I concede the sun provides heat and light our planet depends upon, the sun didn't determine the placement of earth's orbit.

I can be glad that trees give shade and clean the air and produce medicines. But I can't really attribute my happiness to them.
A big tree on a hot day; I was grateful.

I won't thank the potatoes for their sacrifice on thanksgiving Day--that just seems weird. 

And thanksgiving isn't self-congratulatory. There are many blessings I haven't created for myself. I didn't create my innate intelligence (no matter its size) , or physical health. While I am responsible to develop my mind, and keep my body in some kind of useful shape,  I didn't gift myself with a brain that works pretty well, and a body that usually does what I need it to do.

I do not thank an impersonal Cause, electrical spark in primordial ooze or Big Bang, for the everyday wonders around me.

When the Pilgrims gave thanks nearly 400 years ago, and when I give thanks today, tomorrow, and November 27th, it will be to the God who made it all--me, tree, potato and universe. 

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