Making meaning, having rituals

I think that even the most areligious of us desires rituals. After all, almost everyone who gets married has a ritual even of a secular kind. When J was born S and I created some rituals and I think and when people die we desire the same thing. We had a family member die suddenly over the past week; it has come as quite a shock but more than anything it has been quite surreal. That is until gathering with family and joining in some unofficial- and by that I mean not necessarily religious- ritual and sharing. Through this gathering it becomes more real, more sad (and thus honest), and more tangible.

Rituals have a way of helping us make meaning of what is happening. Though they don't necessarily wrap it all up in a pretty bow or make it all better- they make meaning and make sense of what is happening to us. They make sense of a new way of understanding ourselves. I guess that's why marriage is honored with a ritual wedding, or (for S and I) having a child is marked by some kind of ritual (such as baptism).

In the context of death, the reality is that we are marked in the world differently as we grieve. We look at others and wonder how life can still be ordinary. We want to scream at the driver who just honked her horn at us, "don't you know what has happened?" I think that even wearing mourning clothing makes some sense.


  1. You'll be in my heart, friends. And I am completely with you about rituals.


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