This week’s fortune is brought to us by Reverend Theodore Thornton Munger of New England. His profound words inspired others to use similar statements. Playwright Thornton Wilder said, “Providence has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something high or good. A purpose is the eternal condition of success.” Text matching Munger’s is also attributed to President Calvin Coolidge in 1929.
Reverend Munger published On the Threshold in 1881. It was a book of guidance for young people. In the first chapter called “Purpose”, he wrote, “A purpose is the eternal condition of success. Nothing will take its place. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men of talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is a proverb…The chance of events, the push of circumstances, will not. The natural unfolding of faculties will not. Education will not; the country is full of unsuccessful educated men; indeed, it is a problem of society what to do with the young men it is turning out of its colleges and professional schools. There is no road to success but through a clear, strong purpose.”
We need to chart our course in a direction for success to occur. Once we do that, we can get there by many routes. Now, if we are religious, we probably consider our main purpose is to get into Heaven or some place similar. It’s a great goal to aspire towards, but I would like to stick to a more immediate future. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to trade in my car just yet. It might have a few dings and the upholstery is a little worn, but it still runs well.
Since I was a little kid I always wanted to work with animals. I enjoyed drawing them and photographing them. I loved identifying and learning about the various critters in my yard. I went to college and received my degree in Zoology. I’ve worked with domestic pets, livestock, and captive animals at zoos and preserves.
Of course, life has a way of changing your priorities; detours come along. Marriage and a family took me down a beautiful tree-lined road. I don’t regret it, but I wondered if I would ever get back on the highway towards my original destination.
I became hooked on writing and illustrating, but I questioned if I stalled at a rest stop. What I didn’t realize at first was I was still working with animals. I am writing their stories. I am sharing their beauty through drawing. I also work with animals and educating others through various volunteer organizations. So, I guess, in a way, my purpose is still the same. I ventured toward it via winding back roads instead of the busy highway.
Sometimes it can help to plan a journey in portions. We can include places to stop and refuel or see the sights. That’s okay. Life is a journey and we should enjoy it. Although, we don’t want to lose sight of our destination. If you park your car in the driveway too long, you might not get it started again.
My son is about to head off to college. It is an exciting time in his life and of all young adults. I have done my best to make sure he has a dependable vehicle and that it’s all fueled up, but he has his own map. He charts his own course. If he gets a little lost he can always come back to the starting point. Wherever his destination, I hope that he keeps it in view. If he does he will be successful.
Do we want to be famous? Do we want to change the world? Do we want to find true love? Perhaps it’s all the above. Finding our purpose might take us a little time. It can even take us down roads never traveled, but it is worth looking for, grabbing hold of, and never letting it out of our sight.