Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Alpha Delta Pi's best known symbol is without a doubt the diamond. Symbolic of our black diamond-shaped badge we wear after initiation, the diamond of Alpha Delta Pi is probably followed by images of woodland violets, or our favorite mascot - Alphie. However, there is another beautiful symbol of our organization that fails to receive the same recognition. To Alpha Delta Pi sisters the image and notion of "clasped hands" holds great meaning. To our sisterhood, the image on our badge is symbolic of, as our creed states, "the friendly hands clasped in the Adelphean bonds of fellowship." Our open motto "We Live for Each Other" mirrors this notion of clasped hands - when you are in need, reach out, and I will be there.
This past weekend we had our initiation ceremony and welcomed 56 sisters into Delta membership. In reflecting on our sisterhood, our Ritual, and my own chapter specifically, I began to think of these women and the displays of sisterhood and fellowship I have experienced since my own initiation. In reflecting on the past three years I realized that the Adelphean hand clasp is more than just an image or suggestion of friendship and love - that in reach out for one another, symbolically and literally, our lives become richer and more fulfilled.
It's been almost two years since I was elected president of my chapter. This time in my life was incredibly special and the entirety of my experience truly shaped the woman I am today. However, when I think back to the day I was elected there is very little I remember - I was scared and nervous, and excited - and yet one piece of that day remains very clear and distinct in my mind. In waiting to hear the results of the election, what must have been only a few minutes felt completely infinite, as if I was waiting for hours. I had made myself vulnerable to my chapter sisters, for what truly was the first time. In waiting to hear the news I was on the verge of tears - in my 20 years I had never had much success with stuff like this. Then without thought or hesitation, one of my sisters reached out and took my hand. Whether she voted for me or not - I didn't know, and I didn't really care - because I knew something much more important. She was there for me, and no matter what decision had been made by the chapter, that wouldn't change. Without saying a word the touch of her hand told me that I didn't have to be afraid or nervous alone.
A little more than a year later, I would again put myself in a vulnerable position in front of my chapter. After serving as president for almost 18 months I was getting worn down. There was a lot of frustration and negativity within my chapter - after the last recruitment it had become difficult to communicate with one another, we became to large that sisters were feeling disconnected. The feeling of disconnection was present and apparent, and none of us knew what to do - including me. It was recommended to me by a Panhellenic sister that I write a letter about my experiences to read at our next chapter meeting - I wasn't acting like myself and the negative turn had begun to effect me. As our chapter meeting was coming to a close, I opened the letter and started to read. I got as far as "Dear Sisters," before I began to cry. I was ashamed and embarrassed that I wasn't able to make my sisters as happy as they wanted. I was upset and frustrated that I couldn't solve our problems - at least not alone. The feelings I was about to share made me feel humiliated, as if by admitting them, I had let my sisters down. Then again, as my eyes began to tear up and my voice began to shake, I found myself letter in one hand, and the hand of a sister in the other. And again, the taking of my hand said that it was all alright, that I didn't have to feel any of those things around my sisters, that it was okay that I was upset and that I didn't have to deal with all of this alone. Just as a sister held my hand through the excited time, they too would be there to hold my hand when times were trying and difficult.
The Adelphean handclasp is a symbol of friendship and sisterhood, yes. But, it is also a symbol of love and compassion. It is the symbol of that solidarity, that acceptance and encouragement that we all look for when we join an organization. I will always remember the sisters who held my hands and I will always be grateful for the love and support that such a small gesture was able to give to me.
<3 Love and Loyally
Posted by Mary at 11:14 AM