A Wedding Toast

When Alana asked me to give a toast at her wedding, I spent a long time thinking about how best to celebrate her fabulousness and the fabulousness of her beloved. Here is what I said:

15 years ago, Alana Devich turned to me at the end of a yoga class in Cambridge, Massachusetts and said, “I’ve decided we should be friends. When are we going out to dinner?” A few dinners later plus a joint escape from what turned out to be not so much a yoga class but a strange cult, and the deal was sealed. The fact is, Alana Devich is made of awesome and I’m a very lucky person to have her in my life.

Let me tell you a little more about why. Soon after we’d become friends, I got sick with a chronic illness. Weeks stretched into months and months into years and pretty much all I could do was try my best to go to work and then come home and collapse. It was tough for a lot of people to understand, and I didn’t blame them—I hadn’t lived in Boston long, and it seemed like a lot to ask from new friends to stick by me when my social life consisted mostly of going to the doctor.

But not so with Ms. Alana Devich. She would pick up take out and come over and watch stupid tv with me. She didn’t care that my brain was a foggy mess that couldn’t put thoughts together. She still found a thousand ways to make me laugh. And that is one of the reasons I was able to make it through five long years of being sick.

And that is just one of the many times that Alana has been there for me when things have been hard, painful, falling apart.

When we each moved from Boston to opposite coasts, it was Alana who said, this is ridiculous. We need to make regular phone dates. Those phone dates have helped me through many years of changes, of sharing the good and the bad together, and doing our best to help each other make sense of it all.

Here are a few more things you should know about Alana, if you don’t already. She loves a dance-off. She is a comedic genius. She doesn’t suffer fools, but she will always find a way to make their foolishness hilarious. She is a healer who draws from the deepest well of compassionate power. She has the gift of being truly alive to the world around her, of finding delight even in the darkest times and, what’s more, she shares that gift with everyone around her. And when Alana sets her mind to something, that something will HAPPEN.

And so it was with the Alana Devich Dating Project. As a side note, I’d like to take credit for some crucial advice early on in the Dating Project about sexier bra options—feel free to thank me, Mac.

When Alana decided it was time to get some dating done, she got some dating done. But I could feel it in my bones from the first time she mentioned her upcoming date with Mac, something important was about to happen.

I have seen Alana give her heart before but I had not yet seen her meet her true match. Someone strong enough to be her strong-willed equal. And tender enough to make her know that she is always, at all times, loved. In Mac I see a poet-warrior who is both strong enough and tender enough. I see someone who has made it their mission to love Alana with great passion and inspiration. To make her laugh. To make her angry. To inspire her to be her greatest, most powerful self.

This is the kind of love I think about when I think about what Audre Lorde meant when she talked about the uses of the erotic, I think about your love, about the power of it, about the power of making a home for each other and a passion that fuels true transformation.

So raise your glasses with me and toast to the very special and rare loves that transform not only the lovers but declare inevitably that the world itself must transform in that loving image.

Posted by Karen Pittelman

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