(Every year around this time one of the characters from Oz delivers a college commencement address. This year the honor goes to Toto who not only will deliver the final commencement address in the series, but will be the author of the last blog on the YBR.)
The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
– Albert Einstein
Lost – yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.
– Horace Mann
Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.
– Nathaniel Hawthorne
Esteemed Wizard, honored travelers on the YBR, and graduates. Thank you for this great honor. It is a privilege to address you today as you prepare to step out on your own yellow brick road.
It’s all about time, isn’t it? While we have it in abundance, most of us squander it thinking nothing of how precious it really is. If time were an ocean and we were to dip our cupped hands in the sea and carry out the water we’ve collected, how much of it would be left by the time we made it back to the hole we had dug in the sand? That’s our life span. The distance between the shore and the hole. And even if you could hold onto every drop you scooped up, you’d quickly learn that the water would be absorbed by the hole.
You can’t collect time. You can’t save time. You can’t do something tomorrow with yesterday’s time. In fact, you can’t even do something in the next hour with time from an hour before. Time is the only thing that is past, present and future. During your four years at Emerald University your focus was on the future. Everything you did seemed to be about what you were going to do…tomorrow. Today, every class you took, every game you played and every conversation you ever had belongs to the past. Your shadow will follow you all the days of your life.
And although that is a truth, none of you are looking over your shoulders at your shadow. Your eyes are on the future. But what is the future? Is it something you have spent the last four years constructing like a child builds a sand castle at the beach? And as all of you know, sand castle have a way of being defenseless against the elements. Does that hold true when you apply it to the sand castle you have been building in your mind? The answer to that question is as much “yes” as it is “no.” It’s “yes” because even the best sand castle is subject to the vagaries of the sometimes cruel and harsh elements. It is also “no” because sand castles are made up of the same stuff that dreams are made of. And the funny thing about dreams is that they are often stronger than the forces that oppose them.
Remember,follow your dreams and never let them become a shadow that lingers behind you. Keep your dreams alive, but be prepared to let them grow as you grow. Don’t ever be a slave to them. Rather, embrace them and let them keep your spirit alive. Give them a life of their own. If you force a dream it’s like breaking a pet’s will, a concept I am familiar with. And here’s another funny thing about dreams. They always don’t play out the way we think. New friends, new experiences…and especially new ideas have a way of reshaping your sand castle.
If I could give you anything today it would be the ability to appreciate how precious time is. Don’t take time lightly. But also don’t be so focused that time becomes a weight around your neck. Allow yourself to “waste” time the way you did when you were a kid and spent the whole day doing the “nothing” that only kids seem to be able to do. Make sure as you grow older you make room in your life for hours of glorious nothing.
I’d like to end by sharing the lyrics to a wonderful song written by Oscar Hammerstein II for the musical “Carousel.” The song was used to end the play when the graduation speaker gave some advice to the graduates:
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Members of the class of 2015, may your walk on the yellow brick road be filled with the joys that time has in store for you. Step lively. Step,lovingly.