over a week ago my family took a trip up to the Montgomery County
Circuit Courthouse in Rockville, Maryland. It was the last step in a
very long process. Our daughter is now officially ours in the eyes of
Uncle Sam and a US citizen.
It’s an odd situation. For the last two and a half years Ruchi has not
officially had our last name and has lived here in the states with a
When the special day arrived it seemed like just another in a long
series of bureaucratic maneuvers. Even the event itself was very
nondescript, taking place in a near empty chamber with no fanfare other
than the attached photo at conclusion.
But, when it was over and we were eating in a restaurant afterwards
Ruchi said to me, “I can’t believe this is real. Is this a dream? Am I
going to wake up? I love my family. My family in India will always be
my family, but I am so glad to be here with my new family!” She
understood very well what had transpired.
And I did, too. It shook me to my core.
What seemed like a formality was the very powerful conclusion to a
process that took us almost six years, from first decision to final
It is a funny characteristic of rites of passage: when they are
occuring they often feel ordinary. But, given the chance, you step back
just after and realize that something transformational has taken place
that cannot be undone and which is far reaching in impact.
Be alert when you have the chance to formally acknowledge another
person, whether it is an award they are receiving or recognition of
their circumstances. Your words and actions can create a gate through
which they travel, from one world and into another. The personal
repercussions may be quite dramatic.
Think this week: how can you honor someone or some event? What
have you seen that deserves recognition? Acknowledgement is an art as
profoundly powerful as all the others.
imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is
recognition of the pattern.
– Alfred North Whitehead