Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Secret Reading Vice

I have a secret reading all-but-unbreakable weekly habit. It's a secret not because it's shameful or wrong. The problem's corny and stereotypically "girly," which is not my preferred image. It's an embarrassing cliche.

I indulge each Sunday in the Weddings and Celebrations column of the New York Times. The writing is superbly affectionate, and the true stories are unabashedly romantic and uplifting. Stories of young and old, cute meetings and family set-ups, long friendships and passionate whirlwinds, elaborate church ceremonies and nuptials in the woods, and always smiles. All races, all religions, all ages.

Please don't get me wrong....fictional romance novels bore me. There's no void of romance in our marriage. And the wedding details hold little magic for me...the dress, the setting, the flowers, the attendants. (Actually, reception food is kind of interesting.)

It's the real-life element that touches me. I invariably cry at weddings, even ones that I harbor doubts about due to youth, brevity of their relationship, religious differences, family tensions, whatever. It thrills me that they could know the joys of a good marriage..... that they know love.

"The reward of giving up one's life to love is a gift of creative power which is second only to the power of God. Indeed, it is His power distributed through us to others. It gives health to the body, peace to the mind and freedom to the spirit. It ends strife, softens enmity, outruns evil, never fails in strength....One of the most beautiful gifts of love is the faith that it creates: faith in God, faith in humanity, faith in the purpose of life."

--- Bertha Conde, 1925, "A Way to Peace, Health and Power - Studies for the Inner Life"

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