For 17 years, I lived on the Texas Gulf Coast. During that time, I got to see the damage gale-force winds can do. In their wake, they leave debris.
Life’s winds sometimes blow through my days leaving them in disarray. I have learned two questions to keep things on course.
In his book Drive, Dan Pink relates advice that Clare Booth Luce gave the new president John F. Kennedy.
She told him that “A great man is one sentence.” Lincoln’s was “preserve the union and free the slaves.” Roosevelt’s sentence was “He lifted us out of a Great Depression and helped us win the war.” She advised Kennedy to avoid fracturing his attention and “find your sentence.”
Pink goes on from there. The big question is about your sentence, the whole purpose of your life. The second is much smaller in scale but no less critical. That small but significant query is “Are you better today than you were yesterday?”
Both questions serve as homing beacons to keep me on course. I ask them every day. Many times, I find an empty answer but both challenge me to strive to become a better person.
The trouble is life’s gales blow hard. The noise of social media and traditional media confuse, confound, and mislead. The Vox Populi (voice of the people) can spout foolishness. Pundits and blog posts serve us an oversweetened view of a successful life. More money, more time, or more “followers” do not make a better life.
The wise man Solomon went into life’s laboratory to test all the hypotheses of happiness, success, and fulfillment. With the wealth of the world, the freedom from cares, and a catalog of accomplishments, his journal Ecclesiastes casts a dark cloud over life. “It’s all empty” is its recurring refrain.
In the end, he knows learns what makes a life righted.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole of man.(Ecclesiastes 12:13)
At the end of the life, what sentence will be etched on the marble monument? It is written by how you answer the question at the end of the day. “Are you better today than you were yesterday?