spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily
PictureFoxie shares Thanksgiving photo op
Thanksgiving morning on the phone with my sister, we small talk but not for long because over the years we have learned how to love and understand each other and speak from our hearts not too many minutes into a conversation.

For neither of us would this holiday be “ideal,” in as much as Thanksgiving is traditionally a day about family. Her family is a daughter, asleep in the extra bedroom but probably with plans of her own which don't include the  free-range organic turkey my sister been roasting. Another family wants to include her daughter at dinner. My sister has been invited, but isn’t sure that’s the family Thanksgiving she wants though the house is within walking distance.

One of my sons is in the Philippines so rule out dinner with him. The oldest son has become Chef Vegan, living his holiday through photos on Facebook, so connection with him will be adding a comment under his postings of gluten-free pumpkin muffins, the third batch, baked to perfection.

The youngest son has driven his daughter to visit many cousins on her mom’s side of the family. The other grandma is with them. They are miles east of Oakland for their holidays.

So my sister and I concur that we are not going to have the day our way. But we don’t despair. We are not actually resigned to doing the best we can; we’re more upbeat than that. Not to be grateful for being alive would be a mistake; moreover, other people have offered us their company and are including us in their plans. This is generous of them. We agree on our marching orders for the day. It will come in the form of a question that’s not really a question: How Hard Is It?

My sister concludes that it isn’t that hard is to walk a few blocks, carrying her little organic turkey to be with her daughter although in the home of her former husband’s new family. It will not be exactly the day she would have planned, but really, how hard is it?

How hard will it be for me to accept the invitation of a new friend to attend a Christian Science Thanksgiving Service at her church, which is a four-block walk. It will mean a lot to her to walk there with a friend. How hard is it? And when a staff member at the Hotel Lake Merritt learns my grandson and his wife will not be joining me on Thanksgiving, she suggests I join her and two others at the table she has reserved. How hard is it to graciously accept her invitation? To meet new people? It’s not so hard. Though it’s not the day I planned, not my vision of sharing with close family, yet there will be pleasure. It doesn’t have to happen just my way. Indeed, how hard is it to say yes when good people offer to include you? Wasn’t that the basis of Thanksgiving in the first place?

12/20/2014 12:02:06 am

It wasn't exactly Thanksgiving for me this year. Learning to live without the traditions of my childhood and the years of marriage and blending of families of in-laws is over. This year there was a man somewhat younger than all of my three children who was with me to attend the afternoon pot luck dinner for the residents of my apartment building. It was a sweet reward to watch my contribution of a three bean salad become completely consumed.

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