Home » Things I have learned so far » Thanks, Inventors: A Liturgy for Thanksgiving

Thanks, Inventors: A Liturgy for Thanksgiving

Image credit: Gerd Altman on Pixabay

As I write this on the evening before Thanksgiving, 2020, I await the results of my COVID test. A year ago, that sentence would have made no sense; today, a large portion of the population is the same position. But because scientists and technicians and engineers researched and experimented and invented, we not only have the capacity to know what (if anything) we have and what we can do about it, but we can take steps to manage it.

As we reflect on all the inventors have done for us, say it with me:

Thanks, inventors.

My cough and bronchial issues are under moderate control at this moment because researchers figured out how to make drugs and devices to enable people like me to breathe.

Thanks, inventors.

Despite my arguably precarious health, I vacuumed the living room today. I was able to remove quantities of dust and dander and cat hair from my environment without unnecessarily exposing myself to these irritants, because engineers created a robot that rolls itself around the room, vacuuming and sweeping while I work safely in another room.

Thanks, inventors.

As I write, my throw rugs and slipcovers are in a machine that washes them, removing still more cat hair and dust while I tend to other matters such as billing. The machine is more than 20 years old, but it’s still going strong.

Thanks, inventors.

I sit before a computer monitor, composing bills I send to clients so they can pay me. I use this same computer and monitor to do the work for which I bill them, work which would be impossible to do in the COVID era since it would require not only much more time, but travel (in a car, which someone also invented) to libraries which simply aren’t open. The computer, the databases, the internet—all these are the reasons I can earn a living. Plus, I can actually read what’s on the screen, because someone else invented spectacles so people like me can have lenses perching on their faces, adjusting the imperfections in our vision and thus enabling us to function safely and efficiently.

Thanks, inventors.

Photo credit: Christine Penney

I can’t shop safely right now (even though someone invented masks and hand sanitizer), but because someone invented the internet, email, and credit cards, I can log into stores around the world, enter some information, and purchase products that will be sent to me so I, in turn, can send gifts to loved ones. Best of all, I can make these purchases from small businesses and local stores, thereby keeping my neighbors in business while not endangering anybody’s health.

Thanks, inventors.

Daylight is fading, but the lights are on because someone invented light bulbs and electricity grids. When I make tea, the water flows from the faucet, and the same electricity powers the electric kettle that heats the water. Later, when I fix dinner, the same electricity will power the stove someone invented so I wouldn’t have to build a fire outside to cook my food.

Thanks, inventors.

I have no worry about dinner, because someone invented refrigerators and freezers where my perishables are safe, but also canned beans and dried pasta and other items populating my pantry.

Thanks, inventors.

As darkness falls, temperatures drop. While I possess the skill and materials to build a wood fire in the fireplace, breathing issues counsel against inviting woodsmoke into the house this evening. No matter, because someone invented an oil-fueled boiler that keeps the house comfortable. Others invented floors and walls and roofs and windows so people like me who don’t happen to live near caves could still have shelter.

Thanks, inventors.

If an emergency were to arise and I needed to leave the house (whether independently or by way of an ambulance), I could do this because someone invented motor vehicles.

Thanks, inventors.


I could go on and on. Inventors are the reasons we have the clothes and footwear we’re wearing at this moment. They’re responsible for all your electronics, and they’re also responsible for the books on your shelves—after all, somebody had to invent paper, and somebody else invented type so that when somebody concocted a story, there was a way to convey it to people other than those who were sitting around the campfire. Inventors came up with dryer sheets, Keurigs, clumping cat litter, and a million other things you use every day, but probably never really think about.

It’s easy to give thanks for the creatives who bring us songs and stories, fun and games. Still, much of our current lives are due in enormous part to people who used their ingenuity and creativity and just plain weird ideas to make day-to-day life a little better for the rest of us. Whether they’re saving our lives or washing our rugs, brightening our rooms or keeping our ice cream frozen, I suggest that on this day when we give thanks for everything else in our lives, we pause to think of the people whose names we often don’t know, but whose efforts have made our own lives easier and better and safer—and sometimes, just plain possible.

Thanks, inventors.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image credit: Ka Young Seo on Pixabay

6 thoughts on “Thanks, Inventors: A Liturgy for Thanksgiving

    • I have a few relatives who have tested positive, but I haven’t been in direct contact with them in years, so no risk there. We should definitely talk (depending on how long you can stand to listen to my cough!). Happy Thanksgiving!


    • Thanks so much, Marylee! I know what you mean about self-employment–I keep trying to tell the cats I should get paid time off, but so far, nothing. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!


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