Today, Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky are celebrating their wedding in Rhinebeck, NY, just up the road apiece from where my eldest daughter got her culinary arts degree from the CIA. Anyone who has ever visited the Hudson Valley can attest to its natural beauty and wonderful cuisine.
Anyway, I’d like to wish Chelsea and Marc good wishes, and anyone else who is getting married on this absolutely beautiful day in the Northeast. Chelsea and Marc have been childhood friends and both have survived a sort of trial by fire. We’ve all heard the familiar passages read at wedding. First Corinthians 13 and all that. But I’d like to invite Conflucians to find other inspiring passages for weddings. I’ll start.
Here is my selection from Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. Many of Hardy’s marriages were complicated, to say the least. But the one between Gabriel Oak and Bathsheeba Everdeen stands out for me because it is based on friendship and respect even though both partners have shortcomings. Here is my passage:
He accompanied her up the hill, explaining to her the details of his forthcoming tenure of the other farm. They spoke very little of their mutual feeling; pretty phrases and warm expressions being probably unnecessary between such tried friends. Theirs was that substantial affection which arises (if any arises at all) when the two who are thrown together begin first by knowing the rougher sides of each other’s character, and not the best till further on, the romance growing up in the interstices of a mass of hard prosaic reality. This good-fellowship — camaraderie — usually occurring through similarity of pursuits, is unfortunately seldom superadded to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their labours, but in their pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstance permits its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death — that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, beside which the passion usually called by the name is evanescent as steam.
May Chelsea be as fortunate as her parents to find such camaraderie. Congratulations and Mazel Tov to Chelsea and Marc.