Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hi. My name is Andi and I like public speaking.

Last night I spoke to a bunch of graduating seniors about life. It was a lot of fun. And while I spoke too fast, my speech was too short and I didn't pause enough, I think it went really well. Since I have nothing else blog-worthy, (except for the trunk monkey videos) I have posted my talk. Ignore any grammar errors. Assume I fixed them as I spoke.


When I was trying to decide what to talk about tonight, I thought about all the speakers that spoke at my graduation events. I tried to remember all the wisdom that they had imparted to me 5 years ago. And then I realized that it doesn’t matter what I talk about because no one will remember it in 5 years. So now that the pressure of saying something wise, wonderful or encouraging is off I can speak candidly with you about what I have learned about life through college and now entering the workforce. There are 3 things that I have learned that I would like to share with you tonight.

The first thing that I have learned is that life can be downright embarrassing. Now anyone who has made it through Jr. High knows this, but it doesn’t get any better as you get older. As you move into the next phase of your life you will have what I call “freshman moments”. These are times that, in a dramatic fashion, you will show the world that you have no clue what is going on. One of my freshman moments occurred when I was a sophomore at Wright State. Wright State has these tunnels that are a confusing maze that connect the buildings on campus to each other. These tunnels are great ways to get around campus when it is raining or snowing they are also a freshman’s worse nightmare. There is no rhyme or reason to the tunnels and if you miss turn off you need, you can’t circle around and catch it again. You have to turn around and go back to correct tunnel. When you turn around everyone knows that you are lost and are probably a lowly freshman. One day my sophomore year, I was deep in thought and had missed my turn in the tunnels. Where I needed to turn around there was a study lounge. I’m not sure why they placed a study lounge in a tunnel, but there it was. Several tables and chairs and tons of students that would now see me head back in the other direction. I figured I could discreetly turn around draw very little attention to my freshman-like behavior. I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for my treacherous backpack. As soon as I began to turn my zipper broke and my books hit the floor with a loud bang and slide all over the tunnel. I couldn’t have looked more clueless if I had tried. Life will be embarrassing. You can either laugh at yourself or you can quit trying. You will also see people in their embarrassing situations and you can choose to either judge them for these acts or laugh with them and move on.

The second thing that I have learned is that life is always full of surprises. My friend Amberly continually reminds me of this. I think that more random things happen to her than anyone else. One day as she was walking through the parking lot to class, she ran into the side view mirror of a car and it fell off. Not wanting to just leave it on the ground, she opened the door of the car to set the mirror in the back seat. As soon as she had opened the door a cat jumped out and ran off. Now she has broken the guys mirror and let his cat loose. She ran after the cat and with the help of another student, eventually caught it. Feeling responsible for the mirror and the traumatized cat, Amberly left a note for the owner. It said something to the effect of “I broke your mirror off and put it in the backseat. I also rolled the window down a bit so that your cat could breath. I am willing to pay to have the mirror repaired, please call me. Sorry. Amberly.” When Amberly returned from class she had a voicemail from the owner that said something like this, “Hi. This is George the owner of the car you left a note on. I just wanted to thank you for returning my mirror, it falls off all of the time. I also wanted to thank you for rolling down my window a little. I don't own a cat so I don't know who’s cat is in my car but I am glad it could breath. So again, thank you and you don't owe me anything for the mirror.” Unexpected things will always happen in life. We can either let them stress us out or we can be flexible and change with them. As you make plans for your future, realize that God may change them and you can either get upset or laugh and move in new direction. Hold your plans and dreams in open hands and let God change and mold you into the man or woman He wants you to be.

The third thing that I have learned about life is that God will continue to humble me and check my pride. I make no claims to being gorgeous; I will leave that and all the headaches that go with it to someone else, but I must admit that there was a day when I thought I looked especially good. I had a new outfit, new hair color and new shoes; I had it all together. I was pondering how good I looked and how many compliments I would get on my stunning new clothes as I was out running errands. I even practiced my walk. You know the one. Head held high, arms swinging with purpose, the sideways glances to see who is noticing you. The walk. I was on top of the world. Being on top of the world requires a lot of thought about your looks. These were soon interrupted by the plate of glass pressed against my face. Yep, you got it. I walked right into the exit doors of Kroger. Everyone was looking at me then. At that moment, the little voice inside my head whispered, "Vanity hurts", like a banged forehead. That was just one time that God, in all His irony, took me down a couple notches to where I needed to be.

As you move forward with your plans and your future remember that life will be embarrassing, surprising and humbling. If you place your confidence in your ability, your looks or your plans, you will be sorely disappointed. Jeremiah 9:23-24 says this, “Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.” In your life you will be embarrassed, surprised and humbled, but no matter what life brings you, seek to know and understand the Lord. For that is the only thing worth boasting about.

Thank you.

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