The very most successful among us know that you need a Mission Statement (along with an elevator speech, a cover letter, and all sorts of other gimcracks and gewgaws) when you set out in a new direction. Otherwise how will you know - like George the Lesser did on that bright shiny day aboard that aircraft carrier - that Mission has indeed been Accomplished?
I imagined (I have lots of time for imagining nowadays) chatting at length with Eiléan today over cups of red sour hibiscus tea. I told her I was out and about and unencumbered by the burden of gainful employment. I talked at length about the kinds of things I loved in the world. After a while, I knew I was rambling so I switched gears to the more practical..
I said that I had beginnings of an elevator speech and a cover letter and was really wracking my brain for a Mission Statement, because everyone who is anyone has a Mission Statement. She thought for a bit, rummaged in her bag and took out a well-worn book. Opening it to a page near the end, she read the verses below. "There's your mission statement boyo." she said. While I certainly relished the beauty of her vision, I thought it might be aiming a bit too high…and said so.
She told me that Mission Statements - especially those written by poets - are likely to be more of a best version of our future lives, a fuzzy, notional, rough-sketch, if you will, for what the heart desires.
"It's not a goddamned blueprint fer chrissakes!" she admonished.
When all this is over, said the swineherd,
I mean to retire, where
Nobody will have heard about my special skills
And conversation is mainly about the weather.
I intend to learn how to make coffee, as least as well
As the Portuguese lay-sister in the kitchen
And polish the brass fenders every day.
I want to lie awake at night
Listening to cream crawling to the top of the jug
And the water lying soft in the cistern.
I want to see an orchard where the trees grow in straight lines
And the yellow fox finds shelter between the navy-blue trunks,
Where it gets dark early in summer
And the apple-blossom is allowed to wither on the bough.