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Volume 9 Issue 4
Page 5
An interesting word, mission; it seems to keep coming up in my life like a lesson
that needs learning. I know its many meanings and applications and yet I am not
completely comfortable with the word. It touches my life again and again and yet, it is
not a part of my vocabulary, it’s not a word I commonly use.

I would guess my earliest acquaintance with the word dates to WWII and newsreels
and war movies, but the word itself was lost in the blood, guts and glory of it all. The
first real impact the word had on my life came in the guise of the word missionary…
my first wife was a Mormon missionary when I met her; that was, to say the least, a
life-changing experience.

Over time, I had a passing acquaintance with mission as place, as in the Spanish
missions of the Southwest.

In the last couple of decades I have come up against the idea of a “mission
statement” as in “At Ford, Quality is Job 1.” My involvement with such statements has
revolved around mission statements for nonprofit organizations and ministries and
along the way to wondering what my personal mission statement would be.

I am not a goal-oriented person in the normal sense of the term. The whole idea
simply does not resonate with me and that’s perhaps rooted in the idea implanted in
my early years when I somehow earned the label of procrastinator. It is said that such
childhood labels, seared in one’s consciousness have far-reaching effects. I see and
understand the reasoning behind goal-setting and to-do lists and things like personal
“treasure maps” that illustrate one’s goals and desires. I see them as a yardstick for
measuring progress. I also see them as a yardstick for measuring failure, the bane
of a procrastinator’s existence. Goals, New Year’s resolutions and to-do lists – those
are not the stuff of my life. Hey, I’ve made it through some seventy-five years of life,
thank you very much!

However, I do like the idea of having a mission, of coming up with a mission
statement. Ford had a great one! Simple, concise, to the point, meaningful; not only
that, it was a clear yardstick against which Ford’s endeavors could be meaningfully
measured and evaluated. I’ve played with the idea of a personal mission statement a
time or two. The one thing that keeps coming up for me is that of another label I was
given in my youth … one that I kind’a like – instigator. Instigate, to cause a process
to start. I like that. I can do that... sometimes. I enjoy doing that. Apart Thoughts about
Mission from my Groundwaters writings, I often start with something like “Food for
thought …”

I appreciate people who cause me to think, who say things that I can mull over, chew
on, that gives me pause to ruminate. I would rather hear someone say something
that I don’t agree with than something I agree with; something I don’t know rather than
something I already know. I prefer learning over knowing, questions over answers.

I don’t know if I’m any good at it, but for me I’d like to think that my mission statement
could be, “For me, Instigation Is Job 1.”

I’ve said something like this before, but it’s worth repeating. I appreciate the many
contributors to
Groundwaters. I appreciate your creative endeavors, your prose, your
poetry, stories, comics and art, your efforts that make this magazine possible. You
entertain, you encourage, inform and inspire. You keep the neural networks of this ol’
grey head fired up and you give me the opportunity to share some thoughts and
words with you – the opportunity to, from time to time, perhaps, instigate.

May we each continue to “Bubble Up in Our Own Good Time.”
Thoughts About Mission
By Jimminy Cricket