Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tony Snow, Live Boldly, Live A Whole Life

Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary, gave the Commencement Address at the Catholic University of American. Very, very inspirational. One definitely must read it. The meat of the speech:
I’ve been asked to aid in that quest by giving you some advice, so here it goes.
First, live boldly. Live a whole life. I have five tips for pulling this off and – let me warn you — they’ve all been road tested. I learned the old-fashioned way, through trial and error. Number one, think. You’ve got a diploma now, you’ve got a brain. Put them to work.... Second recommendation: Go off-road. It’s tempting to search for comfort, but don’t play it too safe. Every once in a while you’ve got to get yourself into a mess, a scrape, a circumstance that makes you look around and gasp, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” You’ll shudder and tremble, but you will have no choice but to rise to the occasion. Let’s be honest. Most of us spend a great deal of our lives over our heads in one way or another. Don’t reject it, don’t resist it, don’t deny it. Just make the most out of it.... Third: Commit. This is a way of talking about faith... When it comes to faith, I’ve taken my own journey. You will have to take your own. But here’s what I know. Faith is as natural as the air we breathe. Religion is not an opiate, just the opposite. It is the introduction to the ultimate extreme sport. There is nothing that you can imagine that God cannot trump. As Paul said “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And once you realize that there is something greater than you out there, then you have to decide, “Do I acknowledge it and do I act upon it?” You have to at some point surrender yourself. And there is nothing worthwhile in your life that will not at some point require an act of submission. It’s true of faith and friendship.... Next, get out. You are about to encounter a world larger than you know with peaks, valleys, pits and precipices that you cannot possible imagine. You’re going to work long hours. You’ll eat pizza at four in the morning. You’ll try to find love in the weirdest places. You’ll audition personalities, outfits and styles until something seems to fit but eventually the way you’re going to craft your legacy is predictable. You will stamp your imprint on other people’s hearts. You’re not going to get to do that writing in front of a computer... Finally, love. How trite is that? But it’s everything. It separates happiness from misery. It separates the full life from the empty life. To love is to acknowledge that life is not about you. I want you to remember that: It’s not about you. It’s a hard lesson. A lot of people go through life and never learn it. It’s to submit willingly, heart and soul, to things that matter. Love is not melodrama. You don’t purchase it, you don’t manufacture it. You build it.

I've pluck out the main points but you really need to read the rest because he tells some little stories to accompany his points. While he is talking to students who are just beginning their lives, his points are also for those of us who've lived awhile. We, too, need to be reminded how to live.

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