I was spending some time knitting with M. and S. last week, and in the process of teaching S. to knit on double-point needles (NOT my strong suit), M. told S. to pull the connecting stitch "tight, tight, tight". Each time S. needed to do that she said to herself "tight, tight, tight".
One of my favorite friends had a license place that said "Box TTR", which is a type of turn in the OSU Marching Band but also what she would say to herself to perform it accurately.
When I was an inpatient therapist, one of the physiatrists, a wonderful Iranian woman, would start her part of a family conference by saying "As you know, you have had a stroke". It always made me kinda smile.
My high school history teacher would end every class on Fridays by saying "If you can't be good, you better be careful", in response to which at least half of the class would mumble "And if you can't be careful, name it after me".
As a part of Grand Assembly during my Rainbow days, they would do a memorial service for any member who had passed on during the year. It was always moving but not very personal, until the person in charge, the Worthy Advisor, would say "I can not say, I will not say, that they are dead". They almost always got choked up, and so did our 13 year-old selves.
One of my favorite ways to participate in the leadership of the church was to be the liturgist - the one in the service who writes the prayers, announces, explains, and transitions each component of the worship service up until the sermon. The words might have changed slightly from time to time and liturgist to liturgist, but the theology was always the same and was a way to connect to those who have come before and those who will come after.
It's become painfully clear that words that signal actions, emotions, or transitions by their content and repeat-ability are necessary. My husband and I are going to end our marriage, so it's time to tell not just the close circle of friends who have known the whole process but not-so-close friends, other people in our individual and collective communities, and customer service reps. It is awkward by its nature, though I am committed to trying not make others feel uncomfortable with it. I need liturgy for this.
It's hard for me to say "divorce" - it sounds scandalous. It's not. I need a way to say it that doesn't make someone say "oh, I'm so sorry" as their first reaction. Now I'm stumbling all over the place but have been opting for "we're ending our marriage", but that almost sounds too trivial, like ending a cell phone contract. I want my words, when discussing it, to reflect that it is a transition, and while very, very sad, life-will-surely-go-on-so-please-don't-say-I'm-so-sorry-or-cringe. Argh.
Ooooo.... Cliff Notes. Awesome.