Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: Only Connect

I woke this morning with the familiar quotation from E.M.Forster on my mind. Only connect. We had been talking about this yesterday at breakfast with our friend Les, who is visiting from Las Vegas--about that sense of isolation which we often feel and which, more broadly I believe, is at the root of many of our social ills.

We had been hoping to connect at least with family today, having invited our daughter Sarah and friends down to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast with us here in Laguna Beach. We were looking forward to the occasion, and spent the afternoon yesterday in the kitchen, preparing the good food that is in itself a metaphor for connection on such a day. Then the phone rang last night and Sarah's boyfriend told us she had been admitted to the emergency hospital in severe pain and would have to spend the night there. This morning, he called again to let us know that she is being transferred to the general hospital for further care. Instead of the Thanksgiving dinner we had been looking forward to, we'll be driving up to Los Angeles in a little while to see how she is doing.

The lesson, I guess, is not to count your turkeys. I don't want to seem frivolous, with my daughter suffering, but this is clearly one of those times when it's particularly important to let go of the expectations and deal with the reality as it unfolds. In the meantime, our connection will be different from the one we had anticipated; but it will still be connection, and will be valued for what it is. As for Thanksgiving, we extend our gratitude to all those who are selflessly giving of their time to take care of our daughter on a day when they might otherwise be with their own families; and to all those good people throughout the world who devote their lives to taking care of others.


Jean said...

So sorry to hear this. I hope Sarah is ok.

Gary said...

All the best to Sarah this day after Thanksgiving Peter.

Dr Sophia C. said...

Thank you Peter for sharing and so eloquently reminding us that it is every moment that counts -- not so much in the ways that we ourselves plan but in how God in His divine providence presents them to us. Recently, I have had many deaths to process in my mind which makes me ever so grateful for life. My thanksgiving turned out to be even better than I had planned. Only thing, my children were not here either. They were not in hospitals but just could not be here. So, we, like you, shared quality time on the phone and plan for the next holiday.