I almost chickened out and let the rest of the folks who wanted to say a few words just fill up the time, take the stage, and make it as good as it needed to be. But then my good friend Irene came up to me, shook me encouragingly at my shoulders, and said to me confidently, "You're going to be great!"
Tom had said it was up to me whether I would give a speech or not. Lots of internal rehearsing, gathering of advice, and general hand wringing later, I was left with this moment. It really was my choice, and I had some things to say. And Tom and Melanie deserved it. So I got up in front of everyone, something I'm not real keen on doing, and heeded the advice of our friend Kathleen to "speak from the heart."
So I did, although I covered some ground that I had been considering covering... An old story that is familiar to a lot of people, recalling some road trip travails that Tom and I weathered.
What I really wanted to say was that they'd both been an inspiration to me. That they are both playful, creative, loving people with an amazing sense of wonder, grace, and gratitude.
So I say it here. Now.
I also wanted to talk more about Melanie, how she has accentuated Tom genuinely and completely, fulfilling his dreams and inspiring new ones. She brings a lot of game to this life, and this relationship. But I think it worked out, because the other speech deliverers kind of tended towards speaking about Melanie. So I somewhat inadvertently balanced the scorecard by speaking primarily of Tom. Seems that if you can learn to let go, you watch with wonder as the Universe helps out.
I'd originally conspired to do a "Mad Lib" around the theme of their wedding. Sure to be fun and full of laughs, right? Well, maybe. We'll never know for sure. I opted instead to get up and go-- let it rip-- and hope for the best. My intentions were good. So the speech was good too.
I got a fair amount of compliments from attendees; some of whom I don't really know. I hope it was more than sufficient. I think it did the trick. But I always view perfection in hindsight.
It's funny, I sense that Tom felt the same sort of let down after giving his speech at my wedding. The part of my speech that got the biggest laugh was about all of this speech giving business. I remarked that I thought about just repeating the speech that Tom had given at my wedding... but it wasn't that memorable.
But then I talked about how I remembered him saying to me, just after finishing his speech, as we hugged and shared a moment of our great friendship, that he had wanted to make it better.
"Well, he has made it better. He's made my life a lot better. And Melanie has as well."
I think that was the most effective part of the speech; a few people told me about being moved to tears at those lines. And it was unrehearsed.
The beauty of the heart, when it is allowed to flow without restraint, will always amaze.
To Tom and Melanie, all the best.
"May all your storms be weathered, and all that's good get better. Here's to Life, here's to love, here's to you." -- Shirley Horn