Good evening. It is a joy to be here tonight to celebrate Julie and Andrew and the commitment they made to each other today.
It feels strange to stand up here (way up here) and give a toast as Julie’s matron of honor tonight, because so many of you have known her so much longer than I have. Julie and I have known about each other for six years, but have only really known each other for four years, since we both graduated from law school at the University of Chicago and moved to Boston.
When Julie and I became friends, well, different people might have called us different things. The World Wildlife Fund might have called us endangered species. Oprah might have said we had not tapped into our internal power. My priest might have said we were in danger of losing our souls. However you phrase it, our life circumstances were draining us, and we shared our despair over many lunches, dinners, and drinks seasoned with tears and concluded with bear hugs. But, as Maryann Evans (better known as George Eliot) once wrote, “But what we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.” It was out of these dark times that I came to know Julie as I know her now: a woman of grit and determination, who refused to sit passively by, tormented by unfed hopes, but rather threw a lasso around the moon.
The defining moment, I believe, was exactly three years ago today, October 24, 2006, when I received an email from Julie telling me about a very good interview she had just had with the Tax Division of the Department of Justice. Two weeks later she received the offer, and within a week, in an act of great courage, she made up her mind to make a big change, one that changed the course of her life. And look at her now!
Julie, look at you! You are beautiful and radiant, brilliant, a Kennedy Center diva, a Julie Childs in the kitchen, a powerhouse in the courtroom – the envy of us all! Kudos to you for making your life what you wanted it to be. You are an inspiration.
Of course, the credit doesn’t all go to Julie. When she left Boston for DC two years ago, she was on her way to feeding all those unfed hopes, but hadn’t completed the task yet. Then, on February 11, 2008, Julie emailed me, “I’m really quite conflicted over this, as this guy — a law librarian from the suburbs — has made quite the impression on me.” Love is not altogether blind, though. She went on, “I can overlook the fact that his (otherwise adorable) basset hound is kind of stinky, and gladly tease him about the silly, overwrought personalized license plate on his car (H8DUBYA).”
Well, Julie, we’re all very glad that you could overlook what, I believe, are the only two defects either of us has ever discovered about Andrew (one of which he has since changed). What we’ve learned about him since that first date more than makes up for it.
Yes, I’ve learned many good things about Andrew since that initial email – about his intelligence and curiosity, his tireless enthusiasm for life, his quick wit and quirky sense of humor, his thoughtfulness and generosity, his warmth and willingness to befriend people from all walks of life… But most important to me was I saw what he did for Julie. He encouraged her to discover, or re-disover, aspects of herself that had been forgotten or ignored. He encouraged her in all her diverse interests – baking, singing, writing, lawyering. traveling, living life to the fullest! And what more could Julie’s friends and family ask for, than to see our Julie so exuberantly happy. Andrew, thank you for supporting our Julie in all her endeavors which make the world more beautiful, more harmonious, more just, and – as our cinnamon-chipotle truffle favors demonstrate – much more tasty! We are so grateful that she found you, and delighted that through your relationship, we have gained such a treasured friend in you.
Now, let’s raise our glasses to Julie and Andrew. As the Armenian blessing goes, “May you grow old on one pillow!”