Give Me One Reason

If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.  —Thomas Merton

T oday, we will celebrate our youngest daughter’s graduation from high school by hosting an Open House for family and friends. This morning, I survey the results of several weeks worth of preparation: invitations, gifts, fix-it projects, decorations, food, cleaning, organizing, etc. We have invested significant time and resources for this event for one reason: we love our daughter.

Recently, a friend told me a story of sharing my book, Stones Across the River, with her daughter during a tough period in her daughter’s life. She referenced numerous conversations they had regarding specific chapters and how much it helped her daughter cope. In that conversation, I was reminded that I wrote the book for one reason: in the hope that it might make a difference for one person at just the right time.

For the last several months, I’ve been reading various books by and about Winston Churchill. On May 10, 1940, he became Prime Minister of Britain and set forth a single unifying purpose for the nation: victory. Not victory in the sense of conquest, or putting more points on the board. Churchill’s one reason was far more basic: the survival of England as a free nation.

Not long ago, I was interviewing a prospective employee and he asked me a very pointed question: what is your exit strategy? It was a fair question and my answer was simple: I don’t have one. Not to suggest I don’t think about the future – we are always looking forward. My answer reflected my purpose: to do all that I can to make a difference in the world. In our case, we believe we can make the biggest difference, accomplish the most good, by building successful ventures. Sure, there are other positive by-products, but one reason is enough. For me, there is only one exit from that purpose.

We all make decisions and act upon them with varying levels of intention. You can certainly get through life reacting to the world around you and going with the flow. But consider what happens when you have that one, over-arching reason for doing something? What might happen if you channeled your energy toward one purpose? Your one reason can be great or small. It can be time-bound or timeless. It can be a project or a mission. It might be a series of reasons. Regardless, when you set your heart and mind to it, you unleash your greatest powers.

My daughter, Macy, is starting down her path with her first big “reason.” She plans to attend Bradley University in the fall to study Nursing. May this reason driving her next steps inspire her to look intentionally for the ones to follow and pursue them vigorously. I wish this for you and for yours: may you always live in a “season of reasons” that mirror the true priorities of your life.


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