Finding God on Gannon’s campus

The commencement speech given by Steve Jobs to the 2005 graduating class at Stanford grabbed my heart and shook it.

The following are the words that shook me most:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

That may be extreme until you come to the realization that today may be our last day on earth.

The death of William “Bill” Chapnick is an example of how temporary our life is. My fervent prayers go to the family of Bill and for his immortal soul but that’s how quick the Lord calls us home.

If, perhaps, we can think in the future for a moment; “What are your dreams right now? What accomplishments do you wish to achieve? Are you following your heart?

The question then comes to us; “if today were to be my last day on earth, did I follow my dreams?”

There is no room for reckless and irresponsible behavior to rationalize my question, though I do want to think about the question.

This very moment in your life is precisely where God placed you and it is now your job to decide what to do with the choices in front of you.

The upcoming inauguration of Dr. Taylor is perhaps a moment in his life he never dreamed he’d experience. Becoming the 7th President of Gannon was probably the most distant thought in his mind, if it existed at all, when he began his undergraduate studies.

Tuesday, November 8th, is a day when you will be making choices that will impact your life.  Advising day seems to be a routine with many grumbles and big groans, when in fact it is preparation for your future and should be approached with much thought and prayer.

Jobs talked about fear, external expectations, pride, and the thought of embarrassment or failure as things that keep us from living our dreams.

What keeps you from following your heart and dreams?

I have a friend who told me last semester that he was in the wrong major, and I asked him “why are you in it?”  His response was; “Because my dad is one.”

This poor student was afraid that his dad would disown him and never talk to him again if he chose to follow his dream and live his own life and it may have been true, but I ask; “Is that what God wants us to do?”

The apostles left their family and friends to follow Christ because they knew where they found peace and happiness; and our Lord placed in their hearts the path with his peace that made the loss of their support.

One of the sure sign ways to know if what you’re doing is God’s will, is to stop and see if you are anxious and dissatisfied.

Take your life serious and make decisions with purpose.  The future is in your hands and the direction will be up to you.

The university experience is a tremendous opportunity to begin to listen to the voice of God and drown out the noises of distractions and confusion.

This time in your life is the time to take courage and find your passion and then follow it.

Dare to be different and follow the deep voice of God that touches your innermost being, the place where you already know, but are too afraid, too prideful, too embarrassed to fail, and too worried what others will think.


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