Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


First Meeting: Reflection for Chalice Ligthing at Church November 6

EVERY SUNDAY MORNING OUR LAY WORSHIP LEADER OFFERS A PERSONAL REFLECTION BEFORE LIGHTING THE UU FLAMING CHALICE.  I ASKED DEIRDE IF I COULD POST HERS.

It is November 8, 1991. We are in the southern coastal city of Fuzhou, China. Damp morning air rolls in through the open windows of the hotel breakfast room. The linoleum floor is wet from a recent mopping. Round tables are thronged with men in dark clothes, speaking the local Chinese dialect. We are the only westerners in the room.

I try to eat, but I can’t—NOT because the breakfast of rice porridge topped with pickled things and dried salty things is strange to me, though it is—BUT because my chest feels as if birds are beating their wings inside me.

We leave the hotel and walk a few blocks. The street hums with bicycle and vehicle traffic. We turn up the long driveway of a grim, Soviet-era concrete building—the Children’s Welfare Institute. A white government van turns in behind us and stops at the entrance of the building. A woman gets out, carrying a baby bundled in multiple layers of clothing topped by a mustard yellow knit sweater with black crocheted trim.

We glimpse the baby’s face—round-cheeked and full of light. Could it be…?

We hurry forward for our first meeting with this baby girl, and in this moment we are forever changed…into her parents.

WE light the chalice for all the first meetings that change our lives.

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