Tanner Olson

Author, speaker, and spoken word poet Tanner Olson shared an original poem, "Before You Go," to open Concordia University Ann Arbor's Virtual Commencement on Sunday, Dec. 13.

The spoken word piece was commissioned by Concordia University for the Class of 2020, both May and December graduates.

Olson, a 2012 alumnus of Concordia University’s Wisconsin campus, is known for his spoken word and poetry project titled Written to Speak, which shares his work that blends faith, humor, and curiosity as he seeks to point readers and listeners toward the ultimate source of hope and love, Jesus. Olson has also written two books, As You Go: Words for the Unknown (2020) and I’m All Over the Place (2019).

RELATED: Olson was a featured alumnus in Concordia’s 2020 special magazine issue, Hearts Together.

Join Olson’s nearly 50 thousand followers on Instagram, where he shares daily encouragement and hope on his platform @writtentospeak.


Before you go

By Tanner Olson

Before you go

Take a deep breath and remember the Truth you’ve come to know

That hope gets the final word

and His Grace is never gone

mercy has been written over every single wrong
And when you are weak His love remains strong

keep your eyes above and begin with love

Be still
and hold fast to the beauty that continues to last

and remember

There is joy in every day
And good is always on the way

there is promise in the pain
and peace in the sorrow

and just like tomorrow

you can begin today
knowing He carried you through yesterday.

And what is happening today may never happen again.
Slow down.
Look around and you’ll see
A group of people ready to change history.

Step into it.
The uncertain and unknown, but know with certainty you are never walking alone.
Through the steps forward and steps back, the surprises and cracks
The questions and suggestions, the raises and unexpected phases
You are never walking alone.

And when it gets difficult,

And it will get difficult.

Keep going.

Another day.
Another step.
Another prayer.
Another breath.
Keep going.

This is only the beginning.

And you are ready.
Prepared to be the light in the darkness
The hope for the hopeless
The voice for the voiceless

Together we will change the world one day at a time

We can be the ones to remind love is worth the climb
We can be the ones to be the light in the night
We can be the ones to stand for peace in the fight.

And we will be the ones who live uncommon.
From dusk until dawn
Today until gone
We, we will live uncommon.

Follow Tanner Olson on Instagram and Facebook, and visit his website at writtentospeak.com.

— Rachel Thoms served on Concordia University's Strategic Communications team from 2015-2022. Any inquiries about this story can be sent to news@cuaa.edu.

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