Excerpts from Terry Fossum’s keynote at the dedication ceremony for the Terry Fossum center in Rwanda, to help train the widows and orphans of the Genocide in marketable skills:
“There are those who would tear down; and those who would build. There are those who would spread hate; and those who would spread love.
There are those who let things happen to them and decide that it is their fate, that nothing can be done about it; and those who, with God’s help, take their fate into their own hands and make good things happen for themselves, and for others.
There are those who lives are but a ripple on a still ocean, those who are tossed about, moving to and fro as the winds and the waves would take them; And those who become a force that can move ships, and change landscapes forever.
In every moment of every day, we chose which of these we will be. It is our decisions, and our actions, that decide who we will be and the difference we will make in the world, if any.
When we’re given hate, will we respond with hate, or will we respond with love? Will we tear down those around us, or ourselves; or will we use our God-given talents and energy to build our world, ourselves, better than ever before?
Will we decide to stop letting others, or circumstances, decide our fate, decide our future, decide our destiny? Will we become all that God has given us the ability to be?
I believe that each and every one of us has the Power given from God himself to make a positive difference in the world around us. I believe He has given us the strength to love, when our weakness would lead us to do otherwise. I believe he’s given the smallest among us, the weakest among us, great power to do Good in the world.
Every single one of us, regardless of our background, our connections, our poverty, or even our abilities, has the power within him or her to change the course of their future forever; to change their family’s future forever; to change their country’s future in a good way that can make better the lives of millions.
We all have this ability. But all too often, we let excuses and self-doubt get in the way. All too often we waste the time that God gave us on this earth, being lazy; doing what is easy instead of what makes a difference.
Time is both a friend and an enemy of us all. Every minute it is ticking closer to the end of our time on this earth. But every minute is also an opportunity if we take it. Every minute can be wasted away, or taken advantage of to make a lasting, positive difference to help those around us, perhaps even those who we will never meet, but will benefit by the fact that we were alive, and we did something positive, something very good, with our lives.
And when your time is up and you face your final Destiny, you will do so with a smile on your face, and warmth in your heart, because you will be able to say to yourself, without doubt, “the world is a better place, because I was in it.”
– Terry L. Fossum