Ceremony and Relationship

It is First Day (Sunday).  These are days to look forward to, savor and find comfort in.  I try to prepare for attending Meeting (Sunday services) by spending some time before Meeting in quiet reading and contemplation.  It helps me to be fully present by entering Meeting with a calm expectancy.

In one of my readings this morning, I read the following:

“The sense of ceremony derives from the realization that everything runs on relationships, and that relationships, to be kept right, require attention.”

[Thanks to Friends Journal April 2011, “Ritual, Symbol, and Ceremony,” by Keith Helmuth.]

It made me think of all the little ceremonies that we engage in within our families, so small at times that we don’t think of them as “ceremonies.”

Here’s a very recent example:

After several days of sniffing and coughing and generally struggling with a “spring” cold, my husband asked me how I would like my chicken soup prepared for our evening meal.  (We have had a lot of homemade chicken soup lately.)

At first I just said whatever he fixed would be fine, and then suddenly I raised up and said, “Could we just have plain chicken with potatoes and peas?”

He smiled and was pleased to prepare my requested menu.  He knew the power of  a family “ceremony.”

From long ago, one of my daughters always requested “steak, potatoes and peas” when she was ill.  I always made sure she got her request.  (I knew that she had to be feeling better to want to eat such a big meal; and, I knew that she felt thoroughly nurtured for Mom to serve her exactly what she had asked for.)

I will guess, even now, grown and gone from home for many years, my kids would still find comfort and nurture in asking for and receiving “meat (or substitute), potatoes, and peas.”

How do you create and nourish the “right keeping” of ceremony in your relationships?

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