You'd break your neck to keep your chin up

Posted by Cory , Monday, August 23, 2010 6:15 PM

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite writers, Donald Miller, excerpted a passage from "Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way" by Shauna Niequist on his blog. The passage he quoted dealt with reconciling the role of femininity in today's world. I recommend clicking over and reading the blog post, because it caught my eye enough that I promptly downloaded "Bittersweet" (I'm a little infatuated with iBooks).

Perhaps it's my emo kid sensibility or perhaps it's that I'm on the precipice of a major life change, but reading just the description of the book had me slack-jawed. I don't know that I'd describe myself as a bittersweet person, but I certainly have my moments of cynicism and I do tend toward a somewhat sardonic and rigid outlook on life and life changes in particular (I like to call those my autistic moments). I'm only a few chapters into the book, but I wanted to share a passage from the prologue that struck me by how beautifully written and moving it was. Also, I'm a sucker for symbolism.

Christians, generally, aren’t great at lament and mourning. Jews are really better at lament, maybe because they’ve had more practice. My favorite part of a Jewish wedding is the breaking of the glass. Like most Jewish traditions, there are a whole bunch of interpretations: some say that all the shards of broken glass suggest loads of future children and future happiness. Some say that the breaking of the glass references the irreversible nature of marriage: in the same way that the glass can never be put back together after it’s been broken, two people can never be separated once they’ve been connected by marriage. But my favorite interpretation is the one where the wine in the glass is a symbol for all of life, and when the bride and groom drink it, they accept both the bitter and the sweet aspects of life. They accept that sometimes they’ll celebrate and sometimes they’ll mourn, in the same way that sometimes they’ll drink wine and sometimes glasses will shatter.

1 Response to "You'd break your neck to keep your chin up"

Erika Says:

This might just have to be my next Borders purchase

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