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Cameron Campbell: Valedictorian, Campbellsville University
Cameron Michael Campbell, delivered an extraordinary valedictory address at Campbellsville University, Friday, December 13, 2013. He is a 2009 graduate of Adair County High School, Columbia, KY, the son of John and Shirley Campbell, Columbia, KY. He graduated summa cum laude, co-valedictorian of his class. His major is chemistry, and he is now choosing which medical school he will attend.
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Valedictory address by Cameron Michael Campbell
Delivered at Ransdell Chapel, Campbellsville University, December 13, 2013
It was Oscar Wilde who said, "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." What is the difference in existing and living? The difference is so wide, it could be compared to a chasm that cannot be crossed. But the good news is it can be crossed, and that chasm is crossed from the land of existence to the land of living with the bridge of willpower.
Contemplate for a moment one of God's creations: the human. How frail we can be. How weak we may become. What sedentary lifestyles we are tempted to lead. But that is not our fate. We share in this human condition, knowing we are not perfect, knowing we are works in the making, crafted by each and every experience, opportunity, and change that crosses our path day by day. But what we have, in spite of our imperfections, is willpower.
Willpower is that bridge to cross that chasm from existence to living. Willpower is the force that says when all else has failed, when it's time to give up, when we are at our wit's end, try again. When hope has all but been extinguished, keep hoping.
Because it is better to have flown, reached the sky, and fallen a little than to have never left the ground. It is better to have won the war, after losing every battle, than to never have fought. It is better to know the goodness of life mingled with disappointment, than to have never felt anything.
But when we do fall, when we do lose, when we are disappointed, we then learn that the bridge from existence to living is actually made of two parts. Willpower will only take you halfway. Relationship completes the circuit. The author of Ecclesiastes declared, "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble...12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
Time is not infinite. Life is as a vapor, and one day our lives will draw to a close. We cannot afford to waste precious time camping in the land of existence when we are destined for the land of living. We must make the most of every opportunity to live. And what does it mean to live? In the words of John Wesley, to, "Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can."
We all share in this human condition. And we can rise to the challenge of John Wesley's charge by embracing the force of willpower and the bonds of friendship. May we the graduates, and everyone in this room, learn to not exist in life, but to live. Cameron Campbell, valedictory address, Campbellsville University, Friday, December 13, 2013
This story was posted on 2013-12-17 04:19:44
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