So because of my “busy” schedule, I only had today, a day that I am sick to finish the book I’ve been reading for almost 2 months already.
For better understanding, this is a conversation between Mitch and the Reb, who asked him to write a eulogy for him when he dies. The Reb is the Jewish Pastor from where Mitch grew up and Sarah is his wife. 🙂
And here are some excerpts from a particular portion I’ve been struck the most:
According to Jewish tradition, forty days before a male baby is born, a heavenly voice shouts out whom he will marry. If so, the name “Sarah” was yelled for Albert sometime in 1917. If so, the name “Margaux” was yelled for Angelo sometime in 1987, maybe September 10? Tee-hee.
Can you predict which marriages will survive? I asked. “Sometimes,” he said. “If they’re communicating well, they have a good chance. If they have a similar belief system, similar values, they have a good chance.”
What about love?
“Love they should always have. But love changes.”
What do you mean?
“Love-the infatuation kind – ‘he’s so handsome, she’s so beautiful’-that can shrivel. As soon as something goes wrong, that kind of love can fly out the window. On the other hand, a true love can enrich itself. It gets tested and grows stronger. Like in Fiddler on the Roof. You remember? When Tevye sings ‘Do You Love Me?’? When she says, ‘How can you ask if I love you? Loot at all I’ve done with you. What else would you call it?‘ That kind of love-the kind you realize you already have by the life you’ve created together-that’s the kind that lasts.”
“Like Sarah says, twenty good minutes here, forty good minutes there, it adds up to something beautiful. The trick is when things aren’t so great, you don’t junk the whole thing. It’s okay to have an argument. It’s okay that the other one nudges you a little, bothers you a little. It’s part of being close to someone. But the joy you get from that same closeness-when you watch your children, when you wake up and smile at each other-that, as our tradition teaches us, is a blessing. People forget that.”
Why do they forget it?
“Because the word ‘commitment’ has lost its meaning. I’m old enough to remember when it used to be a positive. A committed person was someone to be admired. He was loyal and steady. Now a commitment is something you avoid. You don’t want to tie yourself down. It’s the same with faith, by the way. We don’t want to get stuck having to go to services all the time, or having to follow all the rules. We don’t want to commit to God. We’ll take Him when we need Him, or when things are going good. But real commitment? That requires staying power-in faith and in marriage.”
And if you don’t commit? I asked.
“Your choice. But you miss what’s on the other side.”
What’s on the other side?
“Ah.” He smiled. “A happiness you cannot find alone.”