Back in 2004, I read Bill Clinton's autobiography. I would recommend it, it's a good read. Whilst, no autobiography will ever be an unbiased account, it certainly gives a different picture on certain events. Intriguingly, in addition to recalling events, Clinton offers some interesting insights as well. Primarily on the political process, but also on life in general. One observation that was that in all enterprises if you set your sights low, you may well achieve them, but what you achieve might not be worth celebrating. On the other hand, if you aim for perfection, you won't get there but even by coming up short, the place you get to may well be worthwhile.
When a young man, Clinton sat down and wrote a list of things he wanted to achieve in life. One of them was to write a good book. He finishes by observing that he'd managed to write a book and that it was for others to judge whether it was any good or not.
In 2004, in a place called Worcester, in the Western Cape region of South Africa, I sat down, looked out of the window at the beautiful mountains and wrote my list. Me being me, my list was much more a prayer than a wish list.
I've no idea where that piece of paper is now, I'm sure it is somewhere amongst my stuff. But I've never needed it, the priorities and desires are as clear to me as when I first put them into a coherent list. These are my desires and deepest prayers.
There is, of course, much to read into each of these, emotionally and spiritually about vocation and calling and about what is important in life.. I never felt the need to write down any explanations or comments - or indeed to think them through in a detailed way. I trust my heart and mind to know the truths and I trust God even more to know me and to know what I should be. One comment I would make, though; the order of the list is not remotely accidental.
1. To be a Good man
2. To be a Good husband
3. To be a Good father
4. To be a Good doctor