Thursday, May 26, 2011

Amber's Blessing...and A Philly Family's Odd Spiritual Journey

When Ed and I decided to get married, one of the most challenging decisions we faced was HOW to get married. We don't go to church (even rarely) and we don't share a faith. We wanted the ceremony to be inclusive of all our friends and family, so we didn't favor city hall and I wanted it to have a spiritual context of some sort... and we had no idea how to accomplish these (seemingly, at the time) conflicting goals.

Like all modern brides, I took to the internet. How people EVER planned a wedding without the world wide web is a mystery to me. Anyway, once a-surf, I discovered that plenty of people had our same problem and that there were many wonderful officiants who would didn't need the four walls of a church to marry us in a spiritual, familial way.

This is how we found the utterly marvelous Rev. Paula Legere. Rev. Paula helped us to craft the type of event that would welcome our loved ones into our marriage ceremony and share with them the role we hoped they would play. I was so pleased that during the reception and the days and weeks following our wedding, I was told repeatedly by friends how much they felt included in the ceremony and how much they enjoyed it.

After Chloe was born, we again turned to Rev. Paula to help us to craft a blessing ceremony that would once again hold true to our feelings about spirituality and involve those close to us. Once again, she helped us create a very memorable event that deeply touched those who attended.

So, now with my Littlest, we again reached out to Rev. Paula. As the mother of two girls very close in age, I'm conscious of wanting each child to be recognized in their own special way. Several things about this weekend's ceremony were similar to Chloe's: once again, we chose the beach for our setting; once again, we chose Diane and John to be Godparents to our baby girl; once again, Rev. Paula invited everyone present to offer their own blessings to our new baby. This time, though, we included different readings, new prayers, and a feature I loved: Rev. Paula asked those present to gather around us. The men placed one hand on Ed's shoulders and the women on mine and she asked that everyone understand that we understand that it does take a village. I remember standing on the beach and looking at Amber and Ed and Rev. Paula and the incredible ocean beyond and feeling utterly supported and loved and blessed by the presence of those who are so present in our lives.

Thank you to all who helped to make last Sunday one that I will always remember. In the next post, I'm going to share some very special photos from the weekend - I didn't want anything to distract from them, so they will be placed in their own post. :-)

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you the readings. These were read by the grandparents and the last one was read by me as it was one I felt very connected to when I was researching. Of course, we also had prayers, a parents' commitment and a godparents' commitment. It truly was a beautiful event.

“A Prayer Celebrating the Spirit of a Child” (Anonymous)

Give us the spirit of the child.
Give us the child who lives within - the child who trusts, the child who imagines, the child who sings, the child who receives without reservation, the child who gives without judgment.
Give us a child's eyes, that we may receive the beauty and freshness of this day like a sunrise.
Give us a child's ears, that we may hear the music of mythical times.
Give us a child's heart, that we may be filled with wonder and delight.
Give us a child's faith, that we may be cured of our cynicism.
Give us the spirit of the child, who is not afraid to need, who is not afraid to love.


“Blessing” (Anonymous)

Be true to those who trust thee,
Be pure for those who care.
Be strong, for there is much to suffer,
Be brave, for there is much to dare.
Be a friend to all – the foe, the friendless.
Be giving and forget the gift.
Be humble, for thou knowest thy weakness.
And then, look up and laugh and love and live.

Our Child (Zuri Indian poem)

Our child
Now this is the day.
Our child,
Into the daylight
You will go out standing.
Preparing for your day.

Our child, it is your day,
This day.
May your road be fulfilled.
May we live in your thoughts,
May we be the ones whom your thoughts will embrace,
May you help us all to finish our roads.

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