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SailingShip3.jpgHave you ever come across something that you felt you were somehow meant to find today, in this exact present moment?

This morning, my husband was filling out a form that required that he list the exact date of his graduation from Cornell, the college where we met.  Looking it up, he came across the commencement address by Frank H. T. Rhodes, who in 1995 was leaving the university after 18 years as its president.

Usually college presidents can be a little ho-hum to the 22-year-old crowd.  But we would have listened to Rhodes read from the phone book.  He just had that wisdom-aura, and if he was speaking, we were listening.

His speech connected Ithaca, New York, the beautiful but often cruelly cold upstate hamlet in which Cornell sits, with Ithaka, the Greek island to which Odysseus returned after his adventures fighting the Trojan War.  The speech was about where we hoped to go, what anchored us, and what set us free.  Almost 15 years later, Rob and I both remember it, and re-reading it this morning, we were blown away by how it seemed to plug right into our souls.

Here’s the part that got me, and that I want to share with you:

“…Without conviction, there can be no direction, and without direction,
there can be no journey. Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork
in the road, take it,” but Seneca was closer to the truth: “If one does
not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is the right wind.”
There might still be movement, but from one unplanned destination to
another. And so I hope Ithaca has given you convictions, for they are
the truths you will live by as the journey proceeds. What compass of
conviction guides your journey?”

I think, lately, I’ve been feeling like “no wind is the right wind,” and old Seneca put the angst better than I ever could.  So I take it as an encouraging sign–and a challenge– that we reconnected with that 15-year-old speech today.  What compass of conviction guides my  journey?  What compass of conviction guides yours?

In other words, have you given much thought lately to the question, “Do I know to which port I am sailing?”

Click here to read Rhodes’ entire address.

(image via: http://www.rb-29.net)

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