I love this wisdom from Albert Einstein:
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men [and] for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellowmen, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.
Each of us is here for a purpose. For me, that has meant life as an academic and a teacher, and I will always treasure the years I spent in the classroom. I'm thankful to God for the opportunities he has placed before me, and I'm thankful for the body and soul I have been given through which I could fulfill those goals. I am so thankful for my wife. Becky always stood by my side. She was there to encourage me to pursue my dreams. Marrying her was undoubtedly the best decision I ever made apart from calling upon the name of the Lord. And my students? My entire heart is filled with love for my students. They took my instruction and added a delicious dose of spice and humor.
All this comes to an end today, at least in terms of formal titles. But there is more to life than titles. "Every man dies, but not every man really lives" said William Wallace (as played by Mel Gibson in Braveheart).
The calling of teaching has allowed me to really live. I feel like I am standing in the middle of a picture postcard. It has been unspeakably beautiful. One thing I will say about my career is that regardless of whether or not my goals were met or whether or not I have been "successful" as the world defines success, I have never had any regrets. I have always tried to perform to the very best of my God-given abilities. Soli Deo gloria!
And you, dear reader? "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did do," wrote Mark Twain. "So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
God is calling each of us to explore, to dream, and to discover. Becoming a Christian is an acceptance of that fact. It's not an effort, a striving, a vain chasing after the wind. It's a letting go, a yielding of ourselves, a commitment to a God who is working on you from the inside out to give you new purpose, new values, and a new pattern for life. Friend, you are a unique creature of God. He will lovingly guide you and direct you over every hill and through every obstacle. Every decision you will ever make -- college, marriage, career -- God has it all planned. As you get to know him better and better, and as you start making decisions that affect your future, his plans for your life will become more and more clear. You can count on it.
I leave you with the words of John Paul II:
It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.