Someone passed on to us Jon Favreau’s recent commencement speech at the nearby College of the Holy Cross. We were touched by his comments and share the following:
I understand that cynicism can seem like a logical response to the daily flood of headlines about problems that can’t be solved and people who behave badly – the celebrities and CEOs and politicians of both parties who are supposedly driven only by ego and greed and personal gain. It is hardly original to point out that trust in major institutions has declined, as more of their mistakes and deficiencies are revealed and reported and endlessly analyzed. But here’s the truth: so long as institutions like government, media, business, and faith are created by human beings, with all our faults and imperfections, they will frustrate us. They will disappoint us. They will let us down.
Cynicism is one response to this reality. If you want, you can approach the world with constant distrust and suspicion. You can be a critic who just throws rocks from the sidelines, which requires very little effort or creativity…But remember: cynicism isn’t the only response to humanity’s inadequacies and limitations. Cynicism is a choice. It is just as much of a choice as service to others or faith in God. It is just as much of a choice as love – love that bears all things, believes all things, endures all things, hopes all things.
We were touched because we were reminded that even in a hidden life like ours, cynicism can be a choice we make, a very poor choice. In fact cynicism is the enemy of prayer and contemplation. Cynicism poisons wonder. Cynicism sees a radiant sunrise or an orchard in blossom, hears a bird’s clear song or experiences an unexpected kind word or gesture and says, “So what. Big deal.” The Spirit of God beckons us quietly to notice, to wonder, to give thanks and to praise.
Photographs by Charles O'Connor