Very soon, you will receive the name of becoming a DONE graduate. A ‘Developer of New Environments’.
That title represents many things. And amongst everything it will come to mean to you, I hope it will also remind you of the environment that you created here, which I believe can always re-inspire and re-kindle your inner strength whenever you need it to.
But more than this, I believe that at the heart of your name as a DONE graduate, lies a definite calling on you to step up and take responsibility. Not in the narrow sense of taking a leadership position, or having people under you that you direct. But rather that your new identity as a ‘developer’ has the potential to transform the way you fundamentally live your life from here on. Because what most distinguishes a developer from anyone else is not a title or a role but rather a basic attitude to life. Where others wait for something to happen, we can help make something happen. While others curse the darkness, we can light a flame. Let’s not just hope for things to become better. Let’s help make things become better. More than anything, I hope it is this attitude that you will carry with you and grow beyond DONE.
Because there will always be challenges and limitations in our circumstances. And you know that. You experienced them here and there will be more to come after DONE. Whether it was the area or the rain during your fundraising training, or the lack of opportunities you may have had at school, or your future boss and lack of training at work – the temptation to blame our environment will always be there. But happiness is a life lived in the active mode. And that, is what I hope your graduate title will remind you of. Happiness comes not to those who complain, but to those who act; not to those who blame, but to those who help find solutions; not to those who give into their environment, but to those who are willing to contribute to changing it for the better. God is calling on us all to act, to practice, to build – and to become difference makers.
We can do that in our everyday life, with or without helpful circumstances, wherever we are – be it in our family, our community, at work among colleagues, or in play among team mates. Each of us has a role to play in strengthening the life around us, and the scale in which we do so does not matter. If we make a positive difference to one other person, that is enough. And if you do change a life, you begin to change the universe in the only way we can: one person at a time, one day at a time, one act at a time. We can heal some of the wounds of this world. We can do something; and we should never be discouraged that we can’t do everything. As a wise man once said, “It is not for you to complete the task but neither are you free to stand aside from it”.
There will always be reasons to doubt, and sometimes even to lose hope. People may disappoint us and so too may the church. Our own efforts may fall short, and there may even be moments when we question whether what we’re doing matters at all. But let us remember that our name as DONE graduates calls on us to be developers, not doubters. Doubt, worry and anxiety are contagious; they spread quickly. But luckily, confidence and hope are also contagious. Doubters see the reality and give into the challenges. Developers see the reality – and the challenges – and believe that with our care and effort, things can improve. We cannot leave everything to our environment. But we also cannot leave everything to God. God needs us to act. He is calling on us to respond.
So, as you begin your next chapter in life, remember that the first two letters of DONE are D and O. Let’s allow our name as DONE graduates to inspire us, never to give into the temptation of sitting back and watching, and neither of complaining and judging – but to become people who do. Let’s become grateful, hardworking, compassionate, principled and incredibly loving DOERS. And let’s particularly do a lot, again and again, in the areas of our life that matter most to God; in our friendships, our families, the Blessings and marriages we will go onto create and the community we are a part of building.
And let’s never be afraid of the challenges or problems that may come along the way. Let’s get ready to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in, wherever we are and whoever we’re with. We can be difference makers. And we now have a toolbox that’s well supplied and ready to help us, whenever we are willing to practice the lessons we learned here. And with this toolbox held firmly in your hands and heart, let it always inspire you to not simply go through life, but to grow through life – and even to glow through it.
Well DONE everyone ~ and go for it!
(Yebuny’s DONE 016 graduation address)