My husband recently became a US citizen.
It was a great occasion for which his parents flew in from Canada just for the day. I got choked up.
There were actually a lot of tears in the room. So many in fact, that I began to wonder about the collective experiences, barriers, and hardships these people had endured on the path to this moment. The “guest” section was equally as packed as the section reserved for the candidates for citizenship.
The people who worked in the department were awesome, so friendly and chatty in advance of the ceremony as they roamed the room repeatedly reminding us of the rules (no recording allowed). They also told us they did these ceremonies 3 times a day, 3 times a week, every single week. I started to worry that the ceremony might turn out to be rote and a let down.
I shouldn’t have worried. Our Mistress of Ceremonies was absolutely fantastic, so excited to be there yet again, as if she were doing this for the very first time. On the letter with the ceremony details, it said “this is a solemn ceremony, please dress appropriately,” so we expecting gravity and seriousness. It certainly was all that, but our MC was also hilariously funny and personable, to the point of upending all of our expectations.The Secret: Just Keep Going Click To Tweet
I wasn’t, however, also expecting to get brilliantly life coached. Our MC began the program with an enthusiastic “Good Morning!” In response to our collective very lackluster mumbled response, she immediately redirected us to a powerful mindset by reviewing all the hoops each candidate had navigated to arrive at this juncture. She talked about how privileged she personally felt, to have the honor of swearing in the candidates. She went on to relate her own powerful story of running in to a candidate she had sworn in some time ago. The woman cried upon seeing her again: “I can never forget you – you made me a citizen!”
Our MC had herself worked her way up the ladder in the department. She shared her joy in seeing her own signature on some of the candidates relinquished green card forms from years gone by, and her delight in being able to measure her own progress and accomplishments alongside the journey of her citizen candidates.
Our by now beloved MC went on to speak about the duty of citizenship, and about being a participant in change and progress. She explained that voting, only accessible to citizens, best embodied our job as such. She implored the candidates to never foreswear their duty, “Your time of complaining at the family picnic is over. Now you get to and must be counted. BE HEARD.” Having never missed an opportunity to vote since I turned eighteen, her remarks raised goosebumps which remained through to her concluding remarks, which I paraphrase here:
Look at what you have accomplished here today.
Don’t ever let any one tell you that you can’t do something.
If someone tells you that you can’t, you just leave them behind with their “can’t.”
You just keep going.
You just keep going.
The secret, as nailed by our Life Coach Naturalization Ceremony MC:
Just. Keep. Going.
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