Friday, April 21, 2006

Modern Day Rituals

Some years ago I was invited to attend a House Blessing – combination housewarming/2nd marriage celebration. As I have perhaps mentioned before, most of my New England friends, if they practice a religion at all, are either Catholics or Unitarians, so I am often observing rituals which are not of my own culture . I should acknowledge the one bris I have attended, which was quite moving, though I haven’t seen that boy since. Perhaps it’s just too awkward between us…

The House Blessing was also moving in a surprising way. In its UU way (with the emphasis here on the 2nd U) it involved a smudging, some holy water from Lourdes, a Sabbath prayer, and a folk song that wasn’t CSN&Ys “Our House,” but so for the sake of poetic license, let’s say that’s what it was.

I mention this now because today I received an invitation to return to this same house to celebrate – as the professionally printed invitations announce – “The Divorce is Final!”

Dear Reader:
Please advise.

I take these things quite seriously – these inner circle, family prayer, recitations of community hope and feeling things that are supposed to affirm our humanity and the heritage of our societal condition. M’yow m’yow metaphysics of being m’yow. We smudged. We read responsively. We invoked “our creator,” which by the way mine does not like to be roused in vain. Now you want me to stand.. where – on the holy water stain? On the ashes of the sage or whatever it was we had to disconnect smoke detectors for? And say, “well, thank God that’s over.”

Ethical dilemma.

Quite happy to see a bad match dissolved. Not opposed to divorce in and of itself. He was a pig and she is better off. But no takebacks on my blessing. Consider your house blessed. So blessed, perhaps, that it could not contain the stink-evil that was that marriage. So blessed that you get to keep it instead of he, because the native spirits and the Virgin of Lourdes, and Stephen Stills knew the whole time we were singing that we liked you better.

Mazel Tov. But Miss Bender regrets.

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