Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weddings and Funerals

Readers of this journal who have come expecting gloom today will be disappointed, for though I am in a particularly bad frame of mind, it may be just the right time for observing some very black humor.

I know! Let's go to a party. This weekend, it was a wedding for my best friend, Henry, to his best friend, Glenda. It was a great wedding. First of all it was short. The ceremony didn't last more than about seven minutes, according to those digital photographers who must measure their pixel memory in seconds elapsed. Suffice it to say that it was both simple and exquisitely elegantly done. The food was good, the wine delightful and the toasts both short and appropriate (I even made one:) In sum, the party itself was perfect; relaxed and unfettered by the many complications that often infect and affect first (and, sadly, even second) weddings.

But there's this too. Do as we've just done, and go have a party. Remember, assemble only those friends and family whose presence truly adds meaning to your life, eat well, drink sufficiently and in doing so, raise a glass to better times to come. Most excellent, but change the crepe paper from white to black and it is a funeral instead of a wedding. Party on!

It seems to me that we humans come together to embrace one another and love each other and laugh with each other for the most trivial and unmemorable of reasons every day. But there are certain days which are neither trivial nor unmemorable. Curiously, though, it seems to me that in their most basic outline, the frameworks of these events can hardly be distinguished from their causes. It's a party, and whether the attendees be happy or sad is almost immaterial. Give us a reason, any reason will do, to get together for some food and drink we are there! It's occurred to me that the reason that peace talks are so often held in Geneva or Paris is so that the participants can at least get some good food and wine out of the ordeal.

Of course, I'd rather attend a wedding than a funeral, or god forbid, peace talks, even if they were in Paris. More to the point of this essay, is the not simply the fact that I was privileged to be invited to Henry and Glenda's nuptials, but that I am pleased that my friends have found each other's embrace to be enduring. The most important thing that their wedding ceremony has brought back to my mind is that the assembly of love and the living embrace of individuals makes of any celebration a declaration of the things we truly know, life and love.

Oh, and food and wine.

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