Jenna Bush Hager on Bible verses grandparents read at her wedding

Former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara Bush are no longer with us, but their wise words are as relevant as ever.

That’s what their granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager shared on TODAY Friday when the topic turned to the way the world has slowed down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

If there’s any perk to be found in how our lives have changed following a year of quarantine, lockdown and social distancing, it’s that home life no longer takes a back seat to the office, campus, special events and social engagements. Instead, even with remote work and school and the occasional Zoom meetups, things have simply slowed down.

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That fact prompted Jenna and her fourth hour co-host, Hoda Kotb, to discuss how some people now dread the upcoming post-pandemic days as they envision returning to the rat race.

“Can’t we just say no? We don’t have to go back to all this stuff,” Jenna noted. “It’s OK to say, ‘I can’t make it. I want to spend time with my kids,’ or ‘I want a slower life,’ and then be intentional about making it slower. … When you think about it as a metaphor for life, do we just want to rush to the finish line, or do we want to enjoy it?”


It’s an important thing to contemplate and reminded Hoda of a popular Bible verse from 1 Corinthians that begins with the words “love is patient.”

It was a passage Jenna knew well.

“My grandpa and grandma read those verses at my wedding,” she said of the late couple.

The verses in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 read, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Jenna wed Henry Hager in a private ceremony on her parents’ Prairie Chapel Ranch on May 10, 2008, near Crawford, Texas.

The verses were fresh in Jenna’s mind because she and her husband were having their own talk about slowing down Friday morning, when she sent the passage to him.

Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush pose with daughters Jenna and Barbara prior to the wedding of Jenna and Henry Hager.The White House / Getty Images

“I said, ‘Remember when Ganny and Gampy read this at our wedding?’” Jenna recalled. “We were having a conversation, and he said, ‘Let’s get back to the basics — when you were that third grade teacher who would eat tuna packets. Let’s get back to those people.’ And then I said, ‘Remember when they read this?'”

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