I'm still in awe having listened to Debra Roberts present the keynote address at the 2019 UGA Commencement Service. I must confess I was mesmerized at her downhome wisdom that she wove into an inspirational tapestry for all in attendance. I want to share a couple of her insights that left me affirmatively nodding my head as a father and a pastor.
Debra told how her daughter received many high school graduation cards from well-wishers several years ago. Most were Hallmark inscriptions to do your best and that you will have a bright future. However, one came from a family friend, Miss Emily, who inscribed her own message at the bottom of the card. "Remember that there will be failures." As a mother, Debra was taken aback from the note that seemed like it was a downer. However, when she shared the card with her husband, Al Roker, they both agreed it was one of the best pieces of advice they had seen in years. As Debra prepared her commencement speech, her daughter told her mother, "Don't forget to share Miss Emily's card with them!"
As I like to say, "In growing up school we all attend the class of hard knocks." We need faith most when we are confronted by our failures; yet it is often the perseverance through our failures which defines our lives. Hope is in things unseen; yet believed, especially in the tough times.
The second insight I'd like to share comes from an interview Debra had with a researcher, whom she didn't name, on how we find ourselves. The researcher stated that we don't find ourselves through looking inside; rather we only truly discover who we are and who we are meant to be when we learn to reach out to others through compassion. Imagine that! We are most human when we are acting humanely.
I suspect this then guides us to put this truth into play in our own lives. Could it be that it is the compassion of others who reached out to us in our trials that helps us to become who we are and who we are called to be? Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7