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This past weekend, my wife Joy Carroll Wallis was the commencement speaker at Goshen College in Indiana. She began with a story:
My hope today is to equip you with a warning and commission that might be helpful as you set out on this journey, as you begin the next chapter of your lives. So I want to tell you a story. One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, fear, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other one is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
The grandson thought about this for few minutes and then he looked up at his grandfather and asked: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed. The one you feed.”
You see, just because you are all set with this fabulous educational and spiritual experience here at Goshen, it doesn’t mean it’s easy or plain sailing from here on in. Most people assume that if we can get this life thing and how to live it figured out in our heads that we’re fine. At college, we often believe we can think our way into a new way of living, but that’s actually not the way it works. In reality, it’s more likely that we will live our way into a new way of thinking. And that’s the challenge before all of us. It’s all about the choices and the decisions that we make – making the right choices, feeding the right wolves, and it’s something we will all wrestle with for the rest of our lives, even on a daily basis.
Then she challenged the students:
Don’t just ask the question, “Does this career path bring me job satisfaction?” Ask, “Does it bring meaning?” and the Christian question is, “Does it contribute to the building of God’s kingdom?” Don’t just go where you are directed or invited. Don’t just do something because you can – but try and make the connections between your talents and gifts and your deepest values and beliefs. Go where your moral compass leads you.
You can read the entire speech, “Feeding the Wolves.”