There are many things you can be thankful for this year. You have your health, your beloved, your children, your family, your friends, your work, your home and your pets. But, of course, it may be that this year difficulties appeared in any one of these domains. There is a portion of suffering visited upon each of us — and its burden can, at times, be crushing.
So what is the baseline of thankfulness? What is there to be thankful for that is independent of everything else? For what, in other words, can we be universally thankful?
How about the universe itself or, at least, this corner of the universe as embodied in the unlikely blue world we call home?
A quick review of our solar system makes it clear that good planets are hard to find. The sun hosts eight worlds, at least six large moons, countless asteroids and countless comets. Of all those bodies there is only one place with warm oceans and blue skies and cool breezes and rainfall. And, of all the sun's children, there is only one place where life has run riot.
It's easy to take the Earth — and its ceaseless buzzing of wings and legs and fins — for granted. It's easy to forget its staggering beauty or its almost incomprehensible strangeness in the near vacuum of interstellar space. But in its subtle coupling of air, ice, water and rock, our planet is nothing short of a miracle.
There are, likely, much worse places in the cosmos to try and eek out a lifetime. Places with less color, less majesty, less warmth, less coolness, less joy, less wonder. So, no matter what your year has been like — no matter what you may have lost — there is always the Earth.
You can always be grateful for the gift of the Earth.