The Thought for the Day – John le Carre

I had found what I was looking for – a man like myself, but one who in his search for meaning had discovered a worthwhile object for his life; who had paid every price and not counted it a sacrifice; who was paying it still and would pay it till he died; who cared nothing for compromise, nothing for his pride, nothing for ourselves or the opinion of others; who had reduced his life to the one thing that mattered to him, and was free. – John LeCarre, The Secret Pilgrim

John le Carre is the pen name of British writer David Cromwell, a former British spy who, not surprisingly, writes espionage novels. It’s been many years since we’ve read The Secret Pilgrim (judging by its place in our quotebook, it had to have been around 1990 or so) but we did note the quote was uttered by a character named Ned, though we neglected to note whom Ned was talking about. The worthwhile object for his life was the man’s daughter, whom he had fathered when he was in Vietnam if we recall correctly, and this man spent his time ensuring his daughter was safe, not always easy for a girl in that part of the world at that time.

All of us must find worthwhile objects for our lives. This is both easy and not easy. It’s easy because all we have to do is look inside ourselves to find what talents we were born with and how we feel like utilizing them. To do this, all we have to do is follow our hearts.

…who was paying it still and would pay it till he died…

It’s not easy because once we’ve found what is worthwhile to us we have to have the courage go and get it. Not only that, we have to go and get it every day. We cannot be on our path some days and not others, some weeks and not others, some years and not others. We must be on our paths every day of every week of every year. People who do this, regardless of what it is, look back on time well spent as opposed to time squandered,

…who had reduced his life to the one thing that mattered to him, and was free.

We must reduce our lives to what matters. We must have the wisdom to find out the life we were meant to live and muster both the courage to go and live that life and the patience to do it every day. When we do that, we will be free.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Gaylon began stockpiling quotes in 1988.

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