Although certainly not as intimate as last week’s remarks and reception at the White House, I did encounter the elder President Bush in 1990 as part of my MBA graduation ceremony at The University of Texas at Austin (hook ‘em!)
During his commencement address, President George H. W. Bush shared the following words with us:
From Austin, Texas, to Berlin to Budapest, we live during a remarkable moment in world history, an exhilarating time: the triumph of freedom.
But freedom has a constant companion: challenge. And so, I am here tonight to challenge you to make the most of our changing world, to live these remarkable times, to take risks, to do something extraordinary. This is what Jack London was getting at when he wrote: "I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist."
And of course, you don’t have to strike out for the South Seas or the wild country of Alaska like Jack London, but you can make your life an adventure. The truly great decisions we make in life are rarely logical or practical. They spring right from the heart.
Almost 20 years later, these words are equally applicable today.
We have incredible freedoms here in the US. The challenge is to not become complacent, to use our freedoms to help change our world for good. We all indeed need to break out of our comfort zones, take risks, and take hold of our part in the grand adventure.
Perhaps you are here on these pages because God wants you to risk your heart by adopting a child, or because He wants you to go to the backwaters of Africa and Asia to simply show one that she is loved.
Whatever it is, take hold of the reigns of freedom, engage your heart, and embark on the promise of the extraordinary.
…I challenge you.