One Thing

At an intimate dinner party for four, we were asked, “What ‘one thing’ would you like to have?”

The context was touring art galleries. A quarter of our four was accustomed to visiting showcases, then in the debrief over dinner and drinks with family afterwards asking “Of everything you saw today, which one thing would you want if you could have anything?”

On the hilariously recounted occasion, a non-family member joined in the tour de force. During the post-artum discussion, our friend asked, “What one thing, if you could have anything, would you desire?”

Without hesitation, the newcomer to the group said, “Plastic surgery.” Ensuing laughter prevented certain parties from ever speaking again.

But the needling question is, “What one thing would you ask for?”

Another quarter of our dinner party lightened the mood by answering with the proviso her response be considered in today’s time frame, not as an “ultimate of all of my life this one thing is all I would ever want.” That kept me in the game.

In my idealistic youth I thought growing up equated to finding that one thing for which you would forsake all else. In characteristic teenage adroitness,I latched onto a portion of a psalm that simplified life:

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27.4.

I didn’t have to think but a second to know I was drawn to beauty and wisdom. Rather, by being drawn to beauty I always believed I had wisdom. I also liked the work seek. Pro-activism.

Writing out my goals and life mission over the years, I’ve added love, and its cohorts kindness, compassion and courtesy (for ourselves, for one another, and for the world).

But what’s the one thing you want right now, knowing you can change it tomorrow or as soon as you change, which is less than a second from now?

Given the caveat of fickleness, I opted for money. How much? Set a minimum. I said “$500,000.” That would enable me to…

  • pay off business debts.
  • hire the maintenance the house needs.
  • buy several rental properties whose income would sustain us through our dotage.

Forced to choose one thing for a lifetime, a legacy, I could not have bowed to mammon.

But what a relief it was to have half a million dollars cash for an evening! Woohoo!

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