Be Big on Beginnings

“How to begin?” Writer Ray Bradbury age 91 took his last mighty leap on earth last week, and soared off to explore the celestial spheres he had written about in science fiction books since he was 14. I have been intrigued by his style of beginning a project since he told a gathering of us in a lecture, “I like to jump off cliffs and fashion my parachute on the way down.”

That would not be my native mode, but it seemed to work for him; 400 short stories, 100 novels, poems, and TV and movie scripts, more than 8 million copies of his books sold in 36 languages.

On the other hand, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his brain trust of supporting generals spent years preparing to launch the biggest military operation in recorded history on D Day the sixth of June 1944. It was a colossal coordination of sea, land, and air forces to establish a beach head in France and begin taking Europe back from the Nazis. Despite their careful planning, foul weather over the English Channel made the launch impossible that day. The German generals thought so too, and left their commands for rest and relaxation away from the front.

Eisenhower took a huge risk, began anyway, caught the Germans by surprise and rolled ashore the mighty engine that would free Europe.

When to begin? I like the attitude of David Eugene Ray of Franklin, Tennessee, a few years ago. He wanted to enjoy the cards of congratulations he would receive on his next birthday, so he learned how to read—at age 99, and on his century celebration he was able to read his birthday cards. We should all be such beginners at any age.

In the eternal gospel perspective it is never too late to begin anything. There will be time sometime to accomplish every good thing we want to do. No worthwhile work will be wasted. Even if there are interruptions we will one day find the opportunities to finish.

Nothing happens in our lives without a beginning. Beginning is the antidote to the illness of procrastination. It is a key to the treasure chest of accomplishment. Preparation and planning are important. “Look before you leap” is often wise counsel. But there is definitely a time to leap.

We need to be anxiously engaged in good causes, forge ahead despite difficulties, and endure to the end. But before we can do any of that good stuff, we need to begin.

Carefully crafted or spontaneously launched, inaugurated early or late, under promising or threatening skies, every plan for the future is subject to some uncertainty. But one thing is certain; the plan that never begins will never succeed.