Monday, May 18, 2015

On My Mind Monday

Being smart and rich are lucky.  But being curious and compassionate will save your ass.

Being curious and compassionate will take you out of your ego and edge your soul towards wonder.

~ Mary Karr

These words were delivered via her commencement address to Syracuse grads last week.  I love the little nuggets that are at the heart of these speeches even while I admit that I have no idea who spoke at the ceremony that marked my graduation.  What I do remember is that the morning was heavy with humidity and anticipation. I couldn't wait to get out of the Field House and on with life.  Earlier in the day, I copied a Zora Neale Hurston quote onto my mortar board.  It read, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer."  Twenty five years later, these words still ring true.  I thought I was entering into that phase of life where answers would come easy and often.  That was equal parts naivety and wishful thinking.  Truthfully, I have more questions than answers as I find myself in the thick of things.  I think that's why I find myself perusing these farewell speeches this time each year.  They remind me of that intoxicating youthful optimism and positive conviction that if that: then this, which we come to realize is just not so.  In life, there are no guarantees.  You can work hard and still not succeed.  Or perhaps, you succeed and are puffed up with answers.  Then slowly and all at once you wake up one ordinary day or year and realize that you don't value this or that by which you are now measured or defined. And what really is success?  That's a serious questions crisis.  After a few of these cycles, it becomes apparent that it is often one foot forward and one foot back or to the side.  There are more I think or I hope sos and maybes than yes indeeds.  This is the dance of life and you come to accept the footwork despite the often unpredictable rhythm on the uncertain path.  And really...answers are good, but so are questions. Right?