I know that many of you are struggling these days with planning a wedding in the most painful and uncertain economy in a generation. If you are like me, you’re feeling mild envy at last summer’s crop of brides, and wondering why us? Why now? Some of you have just been laid off, some of you are afraid that you might be laid off soon, some of you are just sad about the myriad of ways the terrible economy is going to impact your celebration. So for all of us today, I have two kindnesses:
1) I read this week that one of the many beautiful pieces of symbolism attached to the breaking of the glass at the end of the Jewish wedding is an old saying from Moroccan Jewish villages that “A difficult beginning is a good sign.” You can’t say it more beautifully than that.
2) I was worrying out loud recently about all the people who might not be able to afford to travel to the wedding. A much older friend pointed out that because of the economy our guests would be thinking through why they wanted to come. Did they feel they should go out of obligation, or did they have an emotional need to come celebrate with us? And that in the end, with times being as tough as they are, the less people would make the trip out of obligation, leaving us with guests who had a strong emotional tie to us. And I realized I’d been thinking about it the wrong way, that in some small ways having our wedding this year was a blessing.
Marriage isn’t easy or perfect. Our weddings are not the day of our dreams. They are a real personal emotional moment when we make one of life’s most serious commitments, followed by one heck of a good party. And if that day is infused with reality, this is a good thing.
So chins up! My grandmother says, when she looks back at the 80 years of her life, she sees that all of the hardest things ended up allowing something surprising and good to come into her life. Maybe getting married in 2009 is a bit like that.
A difficult beginning is a good sign.