Sunday mornings in our house typically begin with my wife, Marjorie, bringing a tray with coffee and doughnuts or fresh bread and the Sunday paper upstairs to our bedroom. My daughters soon appear and vie for position next to Mom on the “big, comfy chair” — an armchair nearly the size of a double-bed — while we leisurely eat and take our turns with the comics-section before getting ready for church. Yesterday was quite different, however, because we each had our assignments and personal preparations to make in getting ready for a big day.
The ordination took place during our regular Sunday church service. After calling Marjorie up front and making some opening remarks and explanations our pastor stepped aside, leaving her to stand alone before the congregation as our oldest daughter and one of her friends sang a special song for the occasion. Watching her standing so still in the moment as the song rolled over her it seemed to be as if the music itself was a kind of anointing. When the song was over our senior pastors and the rest of the pastoral staff surrounded her and laid hands upon her in prayer. When she sat down again beside me I took her right hand and slipped a diamond and sapphire ring onto her finger to memorialize this special occasion.
It was soon time, however, to move on to the second big event. Shortly after service ended we gathered in the sanctuary again for a graduation ceremony in honor of my daughter Faith’s (aka Mall Diva) home-schooling graduation and the completion of her cosmetology program and impending licensing. Her former principal and one of her favorite teachers from the private school she used to attend filed in along with her mother and I to the traditional tune of “Pomp and Circumstance”. When Faith appeared in the aisle, however, a jazzier version of the song kicked in and she did a little cha-cha as she approached the front of the room. I acted as MC, and her former teachers and her mother spoke, and then it was time for our, as Faith phrased it, “Valedictorian, salutatorian, girl voted ‘most likely to succeed’ and ‘Best Hair’,” to speak. She could have added “class clown” to the list as she gave a polished, funny and yet very touching speech. A highlight for me was when she thanked her mom and I, saying, “(you) taught me how and why to make the right decisions and supported me when I made my choices. You taught me everything you know, but let me learn some things on my own … that when the foundation of my life is the truth I will always have somewhere to stand, and I know I won’t have to stand there on my own.”
Fortunately I had stuffed lots of Kleenex in my suit coat ahead of time. Then it was my turn to make some closing comments, and I’m proud to say that — cracked and constricted as my voice may have gotten, and as misty as my eyes may have been — I made it through without completely surrendering my manly aura. Her mother read the diploma and then we presented it along with a thin necklace with an ornament that both signified that this was merely a step along the way for her, and also represented her interests: a tiny, white gold high-heeled shoe with canardly (as in, “you can hardly see them”)diamonds on its straps.
Then it was time to get home and host a light lunch for those who had come out to witness and endorse these momentous developments. The house was filled with folks enjoying the moment. While we enjoy entertaining, it can get a little stressful sometimes when playing host and hostess to a large group of people. Yesterday afternoon, however, was great. We were blissed out, rather than stressed out, and the feeling continued even after the house emptied. It was such a nice buzz that we just kind of sat around and enjoyed it, except for the Mall Diva who had to go to work. We met her later, though, for dinner in a restaurant at the Mall (of course), and the feeling persisted. Our family finished the day curled in our booth, not unlike the way we usually start a Sunday, going over all that had been said and done, still floating. It was a good day.
(Special thanks to “Uncle Ben” at Hammerswing for posting his kind words regarding these events.)