6 Non-Religious Thankfulness Poems

6 Non-Religious Thankfulness Poems

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Several weeks ago I spoke to a woman who was in a mixed-belief marriage. She’s Christian and her husband is agnostic. (I’m still looking for interviewees, if you know any couples like this! I’d love to talk with them about what works, what doesn’t and what they’ve learned on their journey together.) One of their challenges was saying grace before meals. For her, a blessing was essential but for him, the religious component made him feel squeamish and judged. Since squeamish and judged is never how we want to make people feel, I suggested that they try some non-religious thankfulness traditions before meals. With a growing awareness that gratitude plays a huge part in contentment, the couple agreed that building opportunities to recognize their abundance was important. This gives them a way to do that as a family while showing love and respect for their individual spiritual journeys.
Thankful Blessings
With Thanksgiving tomorrow, many families will be sharing their tables with people from a variety of faiths and philosophies. If religion is a touchy subject around the dinner table, here are some ways to be grateful together:

“For what we are about to receive
let us be truly thankful
…to those who planted the crops
…to those who cultivated the fields
…to those who gathered the harvest.

For what we are about to receive
let us be truly thankful
to those who prepared it and those who served it.
In this festivity let us remember too
those who have no festivity
those who cannot share this plenty
those whose lives are more affected than our own
by war, oppression and exploitation
those who are hungry, sick and cold

In sharing in this meal
let us be truly thankful
for the good things we have
for the warm hospitality
and for this good company.”

“Let us enjoy good food and good drink,
And let us thank all whose efforts have set them before us;
Let us enjoy good companionship,
And let us each one be good company to the others;
Let us enjoy ourselves, without guilt,
But let us not forget that many are less fortunate.”
At secularseasons.org, credited to George Rodger, of Aberdeen, Scotland

My daughter’s preschool, mini college in Glenwood Springs, sang this before snacks and meals:
“There are many things I’m thankful for.
I can see them near and far.
There are many things I’m thankful for, let me tell you what they are!
I’m thankful for the earth, I’m thankful for the sea.
I am thankful for my friends and I’m thankful to be me!”

Another mixed-belief couple I know uses this before meals, sometimes changing the last line to “We thank you God for everything:”
“Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the friends we meet
Thank you for the birds that sing
We give thanks for everything”

“We are blessed today, with enough to eat,
May we be grateful.
We are blessed with clothes to wear,
May we be grateful.
We are blessed with shelter from the elements,
May we be grateful.
We are very well blessed today.
May we remember that there are many people
who do not have these blessings.
May we be grateful enough to help others when we can.”
From Abby Willowroot at spiralgoddess.com, copyright 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May we find ways to be grateful this week and always.

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