One news item I look forward to, year after year, are the annual highlights of commencement addresses. There are always several excerpts that resonate with me, being an ongoing student of life itself! I actually had trouble choosing just one, so next week there will be a part 2 that includes another favorite.
Larry Lucchino, Boston Red Sox president and CEO of Bentley University told its 2012 graduates:
“Try not to let the roar of information pouring through your phones and computers deaden your intuition, overwhelm your critical judgment, or drown out the beautiful notes of your own inimitable song. Reduce Facebook. Limit the tweeting. Take off the headphones. Listen for your song. Sing it out loud.”
Listening for one’s own song or purpose or individual work is not an easy task.
My younger daughter, an International Relations/Spanish major, graduated from college seven years ago anticipating the right job would be waiting for her. This was not the case. Once she moved home, I gave her about ten days to decompress from an active, successful college life. Then noticing little effort was going into looking for work, I asked how she was going to pay for her cell phone and other bills (costs her dad and I had assumed before) now that she was no longer a full time student.
Surprise registered on her face. I went on to say she would need to find some work immediately to tide her over until she found her dream job and handed her the phone number of an employment agency a friend owned. My daughter called, was invited in for an interview, filled out paper work, and began work as a receptionist the following Monday.
Was she happy? Not exactly. But she handled her new responsibilities well, even shined while at work. In this small company, she began to be noticed as efficient, hard working, thoughtful and pleasant. After several months she was promoted into the Human Resources department.
One evening, discouraged, she confided to me that this was not how she had seen her life. She had been actively pursuing leads for work along the lines of her college studies, yet did not feel any passion for what had turned up.
She had always loved the Bible, so I suggested that she read some in it each evening – hoping the assignment would give her peace and clarity. I believe we have life because we each have a divine purpose. Her Bible study helped silence all the distractions that had kept her from listening to the intuition guiding her through her life work.
From the beginning my daughter kept a notebook to record passages that inspired her. For example, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he will show you which path to take.”
Several more months passed when one day she mentioned that she was thinking of going into law.
Now, six years later, my daughter has completed law school (cum laude), passed the bar exam, and is doing contract work as an attorney. I asked her to read this post. She commented that she is happy now though her professional development continues to evolve.
To quote Mr. Lucchino, she has listened for her song and is singing it out loud.