Wedding Speech

It was my brother’s wedding last weekend. I got a lot of comments from friends and family about my toast to the groom. Here it is:

I’m Daniel. Marc’s brother. Most of you probably know that. What may not know is that Marc was a sensitive child. He had a very sensitive palate, I think he should have become a sommelier. Unfortunately, his refined palate came in the form a being very sensitive to strong sights and smells. Every since he was little he would basically throw up at the sight, smell or taste of anything slightly gross. But I guess all of use had our quirks, with me it was nose bleeds. No clue why, my nose would sometimes bleed for no reason, and often when I  was excited. Sorry from both of us mom and dad. Good thing for Jess and Anique that he grew out of that in his late teens and can now happily change diapers without much incident.

But what I want to talk about tonight is the thing I inspires me most about my brother. Growing up one of Marc’s inspirations was Albert Einstein. Who would not be inspired by the man who is credited as the greatest scientist of the 20th century and a Nobel Prize winner. Pretty cool guy. But Marc and Albert are linked in more ways than one. Like Marc, Albert Einstein was dyslexic. His teachers thought that he would be able to complete even rudimentary problems and he ended up a patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland before changing the world. One of Einstein’s most famous quotes is “The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill”

This is were things start to get interesting and to me represents what Einstein underestimated and what I admire most about my brother. Einstein had big ideas, but to him, once the problem was formulated the answer was simply a matter of calculation. He knew the experiments to do and how to prove his ideas. But in many cases, and for a few different reasons, Einstein was unable to do just that, do the experiments, the quite effort of day to day life that comes when their are no accolades to be won. He was later quoted as saying “Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.”

This is were my brother and Einstein differ and why though Einstein is internationally renowned, I take much more inspiration from my brother. We’ve paddled thousands of kilometers together. I’ve seen him work so hard he threw up on himself and kept paddling until the end of the set. This was not in competition but just a regular day on the river. Few people knew he was there, there was no hype, no one to impress, just quite effort. I can never forget seeing Marc and my Dad in the living room studying anatomy until they were both completely wrecked. Day in and day out for nearly 2 years, they put in the quite effort while Marc was in massage school. I can now proudly say that Marc is a massage therapist and Dad probably knows more about anatomy than most first year medical students. But sometimes this quiet effort can be too much.

Because of his dyslexia Marc struggled through high school. He had extra attention, special glasses and more time for exams but those things do not learn for you. They cannot write exams. Mom told me that sometimes when she was trying, or nagging if you ask Marc, to study after school he would break down in tears and said that he was too tired from concentrating and trying to follow all day at school that he could not study. This is the quiet effort that we all live, few see, and fewer, if anyone acknowledges.

Life is not made up of medals and accolades, but mostly this quiet effort. I think it becomes too easy to resent those moments that get no reward, no acknowledgement. We should not seek reward for these efforts but accept and enjoy them as part of life. Marc, I’d like to thank you for inspiring my moments of quiet effort. Whether I’m sitting busting my head open trying to understand statistics, trying to help Rachel with one of her many world changing projects or staying up way to late to volunteer, you inspire me to be grateful for these moments. I know you are an inspiration for Jess as well. Supporting her through architecture school, which is all about not only quiet but insane effort, has been incredible. Finally, to all the parents out there, in particular Marc and Jess, I know that parenting is probably the best example of quiet effort, thank you.

So I’d like to propose a toast to my brother Marc, who continues to inspire as a wonderful father and friend. To truly recognize this, instead of a hasty cheers and glass clink, please take the time to move with purpose, clink slowly, look your family and friends in the eye and acknowledge each others quiet effort.

1 Comment

  1. Dan,
    What a great speech! I hope you’re doing well and the wedding was a blast, I’m so happy for Marc and Jess! (and Anique, of course)


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