Monday, June 20, 2011
Graduation, Life and Dreams
With so many graduating this month, thought it would be a good time to share this story. Not sure which college she attended, for it wasn't in the email my dad sent when he sent this to me. Yet, the message is clear, you are never to old to follow your dreams. The road may wind and twist, however if you don't give up there is always time to follow your dreams. Rose did and in doing so made a difference.....
"The first day of school our professor introduced him-self and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.
I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being..
She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?'
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze..
'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked.
She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids....'
'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!' she told me.
After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.
We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.
Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.'
As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.
There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.
We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!
There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.
If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.
Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.
The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets....â€™
She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.'
She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.
One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.
Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be."
So, remeber growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional. Life is what we make it and it is nver too late to follow your dreams.
For the not familiar with it, here are the lyrics to the song "The Rose"
Some say love, it is a river
that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
and you it's only seed.
It's the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
that never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
who cannot seem to give,
and the soul afraid of dyin'
that never learns to live.
When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been to long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong,
just remember in the winter
far beneath the winter snows
lies the seed that with the sun's love
in the spring becomes the rose.
*"The Rose" is song written by Amanda McBroom and made famous by Bette Midler and others.