|Cameron Michael Campbell speaks at Campbellsville University’s commencement. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)|
By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – It was Oscar Wilde who said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” What is the difference in existing and living? Cameron Michael Campbell of Columbia, Ky., co-valedictorian of Campbellsville University’s December 2013 graduating class, asked this question in his response to the charge delivered by Campbellsville University president Michael V. Carter at commencement Dec. 13.
“The difference is so wide,” Campbell said, “it could be compared to a chasm that cannot be crossed. But the good news is it can be crossed, and that chasm is crossed from the land of existence to the land of living with the bridge of willpower.”
In his charge to the graduates, Carter reminded the graduates God made everyone, no matter their ethnic heritage, culture and language.
“Make a difference in the world,” he told the graduates. “Whatever you become, do it with the heart of God.”
He urged the students to thank those who helped them along their journey. “My prayer is that December 13, 2013 be a day that you will look back on, as a day of achievement, and one where you felt a ‘blessed sense of appreciation’ for all those who have worked to help make this day possible for you,” Carter said.
He told the students to be people who can bring forth solutions and solve problems.
Campbell urged his fellow graduates to “contemplate for a moment one of God’s creations: the human.” He asked how frail we can be, how weak we may become and what sedentary lifestyles we are tempted to lead. “But that is not our fate,” he said.
“We share in this human condition, knowing we are not perfect, knowing we are works in the making, crafted by each and every experience, opportunity, and change that crosses our path day by day. But what we have, in spite of our imperfections, is willpower,” he said.
He told the students willpower is that bridge to cross that chasm from existence to living.
“Willpower is the force that says when all else has failed, when it’s time to give up, when we are at our wit’s end, try again. When hope has all but been extinguished, keep hoping,” Campbell said.
He said it is better to have flown, reached the sky and fallen a little than to have never left the ground.
“It is better to have won the war, after losing every battle, than to never have fought. It is better to know the goodness of life mingled with disappointment, than to have never felt anything,” he said.
He told the students, “But when we do fall, when we do lose, when we are disappointed, we then learn that the bridge from existence to living is actually made of two parts. Willpower will only take you halfway. Relationship completes the circuit. The author of Ecclesiastes declared, ‘Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.’”
Campbell said time is not infinite. “Life is as a vapor, and one day our lives will draw to a close. We cannot afford to waste precious time camping in the land of existence when we are destined for the land of living. We must make the most of every opportunity to live,” he said.
Campbell said, “And what does it mean to live? In the words of John Wesley, to, ‘Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.’”
Campbell is the son of John and Shirley Campbell and attends 3trees Church in Russell Springs, Ky. He is a 2009 graduate of Adair County High School.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.