Here is some stuff I am thankful for this season:
1) A wife I can grow with
A few months ago, I was having a conversation with a married couple who are more or less activists for American inspired Christianity, Evangelicalism. When the conversation turned towards religion, they both were sideswiped by my unapologetic godlessness, because they know me to be an encouraging person with a smile, who will help anyone with anything. They assumed a deity motivated me and when they found out the opposite, I no longer fit into their worldview. They both began rationalizing and when they found out my wife was still a Christian; they told me that my wife should divorce me if she is a “true” believer, arguing that light cannot mix with darkness. After I voiced my perspective that their religion has perverted what it means to be in a life-long relationship, they said they would pray for me and clarified that they would divorce if one of them changed their ideas on god. My wife knows that this conversation rattled me for days. I felt sad for them, and angry that religion had convinced them that their god needed to come first, before their spouse and family.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for a wife that knows our marriage is more than what any religion says it is. I am thankful that our relationship allows us to grow, change direction, political party, or religion (or lack of). I am confident that many divorces happen, because one spouse feels trapped. They feel that when they said vows on their wedding day they were also vowing never to change, which is unsustainable.
2) My kids
I am thankful for my children, biological or not. They make me smile every day and offer much needed belly laughs. I am thankful for their strong sense of empathy for animals, human or otherwise. I am thankful for the (pretty much) universal love for silly songs that children have, and the satisfaction after a song well sung.
I am thankful that my meaning does not come from any of the great world mythologies. I am thankful I don’t have to call people sinners or lost. I am glad I no longer feel it my duty to scare little children with hell to get them to believe a certain way. I am thankful to be a godless influence in my children’s lives, and voice for reason in their ears.
I am thankful that I can say the past year was the best year of my life and I credit a large part of that to finding more peace within myself rather than in external lords. I am thankful that my hope is not in heaven or seeing any dead relatives when I die. I am thankful that I am not thankful to any gods. I am thankful there is no good reason to follow any religion. I am thankful that godlessness is a cold, refreshing glass of water.
4) The miscellaneous
Of course, I am thankful for the obvious stuff, like a good job, warms blankets, a home and tasty food.