For a churchless guy like myself, figuring out who deserves my thanks tomorrow requires some careful thought. That’s because I’m philosophical in addition to churchless.
Sure, I could blurt out simple thanksgivings directed at the usual suspects—wife, dog, makers of the tasty Now & Zen unturkey that we’ll be eating—but that goes against my nature.
I want to get down to the core of this giving thanks business. Follow the trail of thankfulness back to the source. Take care of every possible “thank you” recipient at one primal swoop.
When I began my mulling this morning, my mother and father came to mind. Obviously they’re responsible for my being here at all. I wouldn’t be doing any thanking if they hadn’t engaged in some wintry Massachusetts coitus around the beginning of January 1948.
(Don’t know why, but until today I’d never backed up my birthday nine months. I just realized that I could be the product of some New Year’s Eve sexual celebrating. Way to go, Mom and Dad!).
So at first I concluded that my primal thanks are owed to Carolyn and John Hines, since without them there would be no “I” named Brian who now is capable of doing all kinds of things—such as being thankful.
Yet it didn’t take long for me to realize that without their parents, my mother and father wouldn’t have been born. Hence, not me either. And obviously the thankfulness story doesn’t stop there.
My branching family tree is unimaginably vast. It necessarily is unbroken, since I’m here now. Back and back in time it goes, all the way to the common ancestor from whom all humans are descended. Ah, seemingly there’s the person to whom I should be most thankful.
Except…humans are the product of evolution from other species. Thus my ancestors are chimpanzees, fish, flatworms, single celled organisms, and much more. All of which sprang from a single source of earthly life billions of years ago.
Well, you see where we’re heading. Way back. For the heavy elements that make life on Earth possible came from exploding supernovae, and those stars formed from gases early in the universe’s history, and the universe itself—it burst into being via a big bang.
Thank you, big bang! Finally, a thankfulness stopping place.
Except…big bangs don’t bang into being unless there is a place for them to exist. Which is, existence. In the beginning there had to be existence. Also, I suspect, in the end.
Well, I’ve finally reached my Primal Thank You recipient. Existence, you’re the man! And the woman. And everything else that ever was, is, or will be. God is a piker compared to existence. If God exists, it’s due to existence.
If this doesn’t make sense, read my “Existence exists. Amazing!” That post probably won’t make sense to you either, but at least you’ll see some consistency in my nonsensicality.
This is difficult stuff to talk about. Yet beyond words, there’s an ease to it. Right now I’m aware. I’m alive. I’m conscious. In short, I am.
That is so incredibly amazing, so inconceivably precious, the awareness blows me away. More frequently, the older I get. I gripe, moan, and complain about countless things. However, I’m 100% thankful and grateful about one thing: that I’m able to exist.
I have no idea who or what, if anyone or anything, is responsible for my being able to think “I have no idea….” Still, I can’t help saying, from the depth of my unknowing, thank you.