fruits of our labors

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.

Psalm 128:2


(bluebird on the peach tree / Julie Cook / 2017)

Tis the fruiting season…
that time of year when blooms are blooming, pollinators are pollinating, and fruits
are emerging…

And perhaps it is no coincidence that this is also the season that we mark those
most important passages of both age and time…
For this is also the season of graduation.

A time for the young and not so young scholars to begin the journey of bearing the fruits
of their long arduous labors.

Commencement ceremonies are abounding as prolifically as the springs flowers in bloom…
And so it is with this ultimate rite of passage that the speeches offered on behalf of
all graduates, those lofty words of inspiration and hope,
are flowing from the lips of the wise, the wizened, the sages, the politicals, the learned,
and the elder…
those who have been chosen to do so because of their seemingly wise years lived.

Yet I was taken aback yesterday when I listed to one such speech.
Troubled by the “wizened” offerings.

It was the speech delivered by Hillary Clinton to the graduates of her very own alma mater
Wellesley College in the small hamlet of Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Commencement speeches are intended to inspire those who have just spent the last
4, 6, 8, 10 or even more years laboring to get to this coveted position—
sitting in a crowd of look-a-likes…individuals all donned in black cap and gown,
sitting in a chair marking the time honored tradition of passing the torch as each
college and university readies to send forth its best and its brightest into the arms of
an awaiting world.

Hoping, nay expecting, that these new graduates will hence forth go outward,
sharing and prospering….
in hopes of making the world a better place…

Yet Mrs Clinton’s speech was not so much about hopefulness as it was about regret…
and that regret being her own.

Not only did she share the tale of her initial morose following the election with a bit of
comic relief regarding her long walks in the woods (we may remember the news story of
the young mother out walking the day following the election who literally came face to
face with then former candidate Clinton out seeking a bit of solace in the woods)
to the depressive ritual of cleaning out one’s closest while ending with her last little
quip that also… “Chardonnay helped”…

But it was her whipping up the crowd of these eager young women who were hanging on each
word uttered, each breath offered…that I found most troubling.

Clinton reminisced about having delivered a similar speech during her own graduation
at Wellesley as then President Nixon, who was accused of breaking Federal laws,
left office disgraced under the cloud of impeachment as she likened that past sad political time
to our very own current time…with the elephant in the room being the current sitting president…
all to a resounding hoot from her enraptured audience.

She next told the girls to be proud.
To be proud of their anger….

Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think fanning the flames of anger is something that boasts of
hope and bright futures but rather entrenches the thoughts of division, disrespect and alienation.
She was whipping the flames of all things defiant and all things of the resistance she is now
focused on leading with her latest “foundation” endeavors.

So not so much a speech highlighting the thought of what we can do to work together unifying
this great Nation of ours, but rather a speech hammering home the idea of discord…
A Nuremberg moment of great enthusiasm and fanfare yet disparaging about never getting over a
loss while spreading the rhetoric of anger, hate and mistrust.

So don’t go out bearing the fruit of your years of study having labored to acquire
vast skills and knowledge…
knowledge and skills that are suppose to help make this world a better place,
more prosperous, more hopeful and brighter for those who will come after you….
but rather go out as an angry militant, lashing out at any and all who you feel oppose
your views.
Be intolerant while emasculating the men in your lives, as you shout no we won’t
rather than yes we can…

It just seems that these are not the types of speeches that enrich our lives, but rather work
at tearing us apart…

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1

7 comments on “fruits of our labors

  1. Well said! I enjoyed reading that. I find myself very impatient and short tempered with those who are pouring fuel on the fire, seeking to create divisions, sowing strife, especially anyone in a position of leadership. I guess I’m desperate to know were all the grown ups are,those who encourage us to go forward with some cheerful fortitude and hope.

    • That’s the thing IB- here we have a leader, someone that really has the fan base of women, young women at that, who seems to hold great sway– yet the character of this individual shows she’d rather incite controversy, discord and anger– and sadly many seem to want to follow

  2. Karen says:

    Those young graduates are our future and they have a sore looser as their role model. They are being encouraged to go out and disrupt rather than contribute to the greater good of our country and the world.

  3. oneta hayes says:

    That’s for writing this, Julie. I compare the rousing fire Hillary was fanning in that speech to the one Vice Pres Pence had when over a hundred grads walked out on him. Surely there were quite a lot of graduates listening to Hillary who did not agree with her, but they were too polite or intimidated and unorganized to pull off such rudeness. Someone is organizing that kind of behavior. It is insidious in it’s tearing down of our political system, and in the hate it is generating against honorable conservative spokesmen and women.

    • It is truly the epitome of rudeness but then again we are living in a time when things like manners, courtesy and decorum have seemingly become obsolete.
      I agree Oneata that this kind of stuff—these walks outs etc—are “organized” and generated over the ilk of social media.
      My husband was telling me of a story he’d read were a large group of middle school kids, something like 200, from a school in NJ were visiting Washington and when it came to posing with and having a picture taken with the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a large portion of the kids refused to have a picture taken with him.
      I’m sorry but middle school kids pretty much follow leads—my suspicion is that this was more or less a teacher lead revolt, and I for one find that to be reprehensible….

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