One Thing

One of the companies that I chaplain for has pretty much gone to all work at home during the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, I am sending out a weekly thought to keep in contact with them. This week’s is below.

Since more of us than normal at *** are going to work from home, or at least out of the office, I asked *********** if I could send a weekly chaplain thought to everyone. I hope you find them encouraging. This week’s thought comes from one of my favorite movies from the 90s, City Slickers.

If you aren’t familiar with “City Slickers” it is about Mitch Robbins (played by Billy Crystal) and some of his friends who go to a dude ranch to learn to be cowboys, and along the way learn who they are too. Mitch begins an initially terrifying friendship with the rough ridden lead cowboy Curly (played by the classic cowboy actor Jack Palance). In the conversation that changes the direction of the movie and Mitch’s life, Curly gives Mitch some advice. 

Curly says to Mitch:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?

[holds up one finger]

Curly: This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean anything (my edit).

Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.

Curly probably doesn’t know it but he is paraphrasing the famous Danish Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, who wrote: “Purity of heart is to will one thing.”

Kierkegaard’s point was that when you know what is most important in your life it enables you to not be pulled aside by less important things. Basically, when you know what you have said “Yes” to, and thus declared for yourself “this is most important”, it makes it easier to say “No” to all the things that aren’t as important. These may be good things you are saying “no” to, but they aren’t your “One Thing” and therefore they have to come second in order, and sometimes not at all. This is true in our use of time (as Jackie talked about today in the company “Chew On This” Lunch Conversation), our use of our resources, and most importantly what shapes the focus of our lives. Knowing our “One Thing” helps us to make choices in line with who we want to be.

So what is your “One Thing”?

I think times of crisis like we are going through right now are a good time for us to make sure that our “One Thing” is something worth living our lives for. Does your “One Thing” direct all your other choices? Is your “One Thing” worth living for? Does your “One Thing” lead to healthy choices or has it led to destructive choices?

I also believe that knowing what our “One Thing” is gives us hope in the midst of crisis. Everything else can fall away, but this “One Thing” is what I am focused on. It is what matters. As long as it stands you’re good.

I hope you know what you “One Thing” is, and that it is a good “One Thing” that is life-giving rather than destructive. Mine is my faith and it leads me in wonderful directions.

Please know that I am always available for any conversations you would like to have concerning your “One Thing”.

Stay safe, wash your hands, and use your time in a manner that honors your “One Thing”.

Robert Terrell
Senior Certified Chaplain
Corporate Chaplains of America
1-877-322-CHAP ext. 4311
rterrell@chaplain.org

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