All Our Relations
By Marisol Caballero
I am ever grateful for the friends who are my family; who have pieced me together each time I’ve fallen apart; who laugh, cry, dream, and age happily by my side.
In a few moments, there will be a splendid party celebrating (name)’s passage into young womanhood. At that time, she will receive a series of traditional gifts, symbolizing the duties as well as the privileges of her new status. At this moment, in the spirit of reverence, we present some of these gifts; to bless them and dedicate them to a higher meaning, so that they may serve not only for pleasure and adornment, but also to remind her of life’s more enduring values, and her responsibilities as a woman of integrity and faith.
We begin with the tiara and scepter, presented by (sponsors). These accoutrements of a princess signify a new authority for (name). No longer is simple childish obedience to be her highest virtue; rather, she must decide for herself what actions represent the highest good as she understands it. She is entitled to say “No” to what others ask of her, and that “No” is to be respected. This authority is not to be used arbitrarily, or for self-indulgence, but always for the sake of protecting her integrity. It also means that she has taken on responsibility for the consequences of her choices; while others will support and encourage her, they will no longer shield her from the real world results of what she does. To this purpose, we bless these gifts.
A second gift that will be offered to (name) is a book of spiritual wisdom, presented by her godparents. This book contains prayers and teachings from many of the world’s religious traditions, that will help her to continue her journey as a person of faith. It symbolizes a growing life of the mind, and a continuing thirst for knowledge. We do not expect that she will agree with all the ideas that she will find here, but we hope that she will discover both challenge and comfort from the inspired words of many sages and saints throughout the ages of history, and realize that she is never alone in the effort to create a life that is truthful, righteous, reverent, faithful, and grounded in the beauty of the human spirit. To this purpose, we bless this gift.
A third set of gifts will be this bracelet and ring, presented by (sponsors). These adornments are made of precious metal, but their real value is in the love and respect with which they are given, and the meaning they will have for (name). Each is a circle, symbol of completion and wholeness, to remind her of the unending circle of life with its times and seasons, its rhythm of birth and death, its alternating tides of struggle and fulfillment. As she wears these emblems, she will remember that no one moment exists alone, but is always connected to all other moments. She will imagine the largest circle of all, the universe that contains all things, in which each of us is connected to everything that exists. By remembering these wider perspectives, she will see her own triumphs and disappointments in their true proportions, and so be safe from both arrogance and despair. To this purpose, we bless these gifts.
Finally, we acknowledge the gifts of necklace and earrings. Again, these jewels have a purpose greater than outward beauty. Earrings, presented by (sponsor), are to remind (name) to listen, carefully and compassionately, to other people, to the world around her, and to the quiet voice of guidance within herself. As these stones are precious, listening is a precious gift. The necklace, presented by (sponsor), is in the form of a flaming chalice, to wear as a public statement of her commitment to her religious heritage and this community of faith. It says that she is proud of her identity as a Unitarian Universalist, and that she intends to conduct herself as a representative of what that tradition means. It is a witness, to the world and to herself, that she has made a commitment to the values of truth, justice, reason, and peace as the guideposts of her life. To this purpose, we bless these gifts.
Response of court:
Damas and Chambelanes, (name) has invited you to be part of this important day in her life, because you are the circle of friends who are growing towards adulthood with her. As she begins to move beyond the protection of her parents’ love and concern, it is you to whom she will turn more and more for example and advice. We ask you to bear witness to the beliefs she has affirmed here today, and the values she has promised to uphold. We ask you to remind her, when she is troubled, or tempted, or confused, that she has made a commitment to the kind of person she hopes to be, and encourage her to be that person as she grows. We ask you also each in your own lives, to be the kind of person she can look up to, and strive to be like. Will you all, for (name)’s sake, and your own, agree to do these things? ("We will.")
|Author||Kendyl L. R. Gibbons|