“Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young,” commonly known by the title “Wear Sunscreen,” is an essay written as a hypothetical commencement speech by columnist Mary Schmich, originally published in June 1997 in the Chicago Tribune. The material is often erroneously described as a commencement speech given by author Kurt Vonnegut at MIT. Later on, this written piece became the basis for a successful spoken word song released in 1999 by Baz Luhrmann, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen),” also known as “The Sunscreen Song.” That is where I first heard it and became interested in its content. I hope you have heard it, but if not you can look it up on YouTube.
The article gives various pieces of advice on how to live a happier life and avoid the common frustrations of adulthood. There is one part of it that has stuck with me since the moment I first heard it; I mean besides the advice to wear sunscreen. Ms. Schmich writes these words that Baz sings –
Don’t worry about the future
But know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things
That never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday
These words have come to my mind again as I thought about my speech to a group of high school seniors. Then they were underlined and highlighted by a few recent events like the death of a man in a crash and a young man being diagnosed with cancer. I even watched my son break his thumb while making a routine out in baseball. His summer plans completely changed in a moment, and we never saw it coming. None of us are entirely sure what is going to happen next and how to be prepared for it.
There are two simple thoughts I cling to each day.
1. My faith has prepared me for life’s darkest moments. Faith is about trusting God at all times, but it is especially comforting when things go wrong. I am confident that God is in charge. I know that he will bring good out of any situation. If nothing else, I have the hope of heaven that shines a light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Most of life is about how we react to situations. While I cannot control all the situations that come at me, I can control my reactions to them. I can have faith. I can see the good in things. I can offer hope and love. I can make God’s kingdom present in my life and through my life by choosing to react in Godly ways.
Today is just another Tuesday. I have no idea what will happen to the people I love this day or to me. Maybe nothing or maybe anything. Mentally I am trusting God today no matter what happens. He is present in my life, and I am willing to let him use me. I am not worried about what happens today.