Maire's College Valedictorian Speech - "I should begin with a disclaimer. I was given a length for this speech, but not a topic. Being an Elementary Education major, I know the value in making something memorable that connects to the personal lives of individuals. So, since we are in Maine, the following topic seemed appropriate. This speech is going to be about how not to become a lobster. Bear with me.
A few weeks ago, I sat on my couch, flipping through my Bible and looking for ideas for today. I was getting nervous about speaking in front of all of you, and did not have confidence in my ability to do justice to the great opportunity. Since the Bible has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to me in the past, I was hoping to find something to go on in its pages.
I started, perhaps not surprisingly, in Genesis. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the story but was struck by something close to the beginning. In chapter 1, verses 27 & 28, I read, "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female he created them. He created, then He blessed. Before even receiving names, humans were receiving blessings. And the blessings have not stopped since.
Today, living in this society, we are even more blessed than previous generations could imagine. We have had instant access to all of our basic needs as well as many wants. Most of us have had the chance to grow up in good homes, go to school and pursue our own dreams. Yet somehow, our over-abundance of blessings had made it hader to acknowledge what we already have. Instead of recognizing and appreciating our blessings, our society has taught us to expect them as if they are owed. We think we always deserve to say, do and think precisely what we want without considering others. We deserve to spoil ourselves. We deserve more money, more time, fewer taxes, less snow -- you name it, we deserve to have it or be free from it. But do we? What have we done other than be born in the right place at the right time?
I am not suggesting that we all start feeling guilty, or that these blessings cannot be enjoyed. But they need to be recognized for what they are. Once we get over the notion that we deserved all of the amazing things that have happened to us, the more pressing question becomes "why?" Why have we been given the opportunity to go to college or further our education? Why will we get the jobs we find? Why have we met the people we know? Why do we have amazing support-systems in our families or friends? If God blessed us, there has to be a reason. So why have we been so blessed?
Up to this point, many of us have been primarily on the receiving end of blessings. As children, young adults and even college students, people have been catering to our needs as we focus on what we need to do for ourselves. Some of us are still very much connected to our support-systems and rely on them. But now most of us are entering a period of major changes. For the first time in our lives, we can take the focus off ourselves and our needs. We have gotten this far. We are well taken care of. As we move on, we are going to find ourselves in situations where we can start blessing others with our time, knowledge, resources or enthusiasm. The reason we have blessings is to share them.
If you are like me, you are soon facing the reality of college debt. But the debt of blessings we owe is even greater. Fortunately, blessings are a lot more fun to pay off. We can raise families, get involved in our communities or donate time or money to charity. We can make a choice to stay positive and try not to complain. We can surprise old friends with a phone call or card. In fact, it doesn't matter at all how we go about it as long as we realize that we have an obligation to share our blessings. To choose not to would not only be selfish, but it would deny what God has planned for us.
Each one of us has had a unique and separate set of blessings that has made us who we are today. Our blessings have prepared us to be in a certain place at a certain time. If we decide not to help those around us, it is not simply going to fall to the next person. that opportunity will be lost and part of the chain will be broken. We have been blessed in order to bless others. And honestly, once we start repaying what we owe, we won't want to stop.
At this point, you are probably wondering how on earth this is about not becoming lobsters. Well, aside from being crusty, lobsters are known for not giving back to their societies. How do I know this? * Because they're shellfish, of course! * So if we pass on our blessings, we won't become lobsters just living in our own little shells. And what's more, in the book of Acts 20 : 35 we are told to '... remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said " It is more blessed to give than to receive. "' If this is in fact the case, we are now entering the most blessed time of our lives."
FROM BEV: As a child I wasn't content just playing with Barbies, I wanted to create earrings for them out of beads and sequins. In my spare time I wove potholders and took them door to door to sell to my neighbors. I had a kick wheel and crafted hand clay pottery as a teenager and went to fairs to sell my work. I also hooked my own designed rugs on burlap and then used them more as wall hangings. So as you can see, I've been working creatively on crafts all my life but have moved naturally into art with an emphasis on DESIGN only in the past few years. I keep returning to a few themes: beading, sewing, sewing beads, pottery. I have grown to thrive on vibrant color, lots of natural texture and a small detail of light-catching (iridescent) medium such as beads, metal or mica in paint. I still hope to catch the CHILDLIKE vision in my work.
Some of my other interests have been: family, Christian charity, recycling, gardening (especially rhubarb, raspberries and quince for pies & marmalade), inter-generational friendships & nourishing. Did I mention I also hand fry my own old fashioned doughnuts?
My studio/boutique/gallery is located in the great room of my home in Central NH and is almost 700 square feet not including going up into the cathedral ceiling! Please visit me sometime and Tell Your Friends. Marketing is the hardest job! (Writing all these descriptions is second hardest.)