The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Like many of us at this time of year, I am looking at my life and thinking how incredibly thankful I am for all the good things I have: a beautiful, brilliant, humane, and loving wife; a fantastic, interesting, and caring son and daughter; the two best grandchildren the world has ever seen; a teaching position I absolutely love and thrive on; chances to do what I really want to do with my so-called free time – reading and writing; good health; good friends who, like me, love good food, good drink, and good conversation about important things; and, well, lots of other things. When I first became an agnostic, I had a problem with thankfulness.  I felt very thankful (though, frankly, times were hard: divorce, money issues, familial and life uncertainties) .   But it seemed weird to feel thankful.  I had always thought of thankfulness to be something you have *toward* somebody.  When you say thank you, you say thank you precisely to someone.   But who was I to thank for the good things [...]