Friday, June 24, 2011

Pomp And Circumstance

It has been a long time since I graduated from anything. High school was 1972. College was 1976. Seminary was 1981. I have few recollections of the two I attended (I graduated from seminary in absentia, as the program listed me.), mainly that after the Annandale High School Class of '72 was capped and gowned and presented blank diplomas at the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, the place soon burned down. In none of the cases do I recall who was the featured commencement speaker or anything he or she might have said.

So, I have to take my inspiration from others about whom I read.

Stephen Colbert, famous for his satire on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report spoke to the graduates at Northwestern University, of which he is an alum. I was never a fan or a watcher of his programs, but have heard a time or two that there really is some spiritual depth and substance to the man.

This came through in his speech, a portion of which I share here, having read it in The Christian Century:

Whatever your dream is right now, if you don't achieve it, you haven't failed, and you're not some loser. But just as importantly--and this is the part I may not get right and you may not listen to--if you do get your dream, you are not a winner.

After I graduated from here, I moved down to Chicago and did improv. Now there are very few rules to improvisation, but one of the things I was taught early on is that you are not the most important person in the scene. Everybody else is. And if they are the most important people in the scene, you will naturally pay attention to them and serve them . . . . You cannot "win" improv.

And life is an improvisation. You have no idea what's going to happen next, and you are mostly just making things up as you go along. And like improv, you cannot win your life.

The video of Colbert's speech is found at the above link.

No comments:

Post a Comment