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On a recent vacation that took my family through the Badlands, our first stop was Crazy Horse. In 1948, Korczak Ziolkowski was commissioned by Lakota chief Henry Standing Bear to design a mountain carving that would honor the famous war leader. The great irony, if you know your history, is that Crazy Horse didn’t even allow himself to be photographed. I wonder what he would have thought about a 563-foot-high statue on the granite face of the Black Hills. Ziolkowski invested more than thirty years of his life carving the statue that is intended to be eight feet higher than the Washington Monument and nine times larger than the faces at Mount Rushmore. Following his death in 1982, his family has carried on the vision their father started. Their projected completion date is 2050.
That vision, carving what will be the largest sculpture in the world, begs this question: why spend a lifetime carving one larger-than-life statue?
In the words of Ziolkowski himself, “When your life is over, the world will ask you only one question: Did you do what you were supposed to do?”
Why do composers write music? Why do athletes compete? Why do politicians run for office? Why do entrepreneurs start businesses? Why do doctors practice medicine? Why do teachers teach?
There are certainly lots of answers to those questions, but the right answer is this: we do it to give expression to something that is deep within our soul. That something is our soulprint. We find fulfillment in doing what we were originally designed and ultimately destined to do. The song or box score or legislation or company or surgery or curriculum is more than the work of our hands. It’s an expression of our soul. It¹s a reflection of our soulprint.
The failure to give expression to our soulprint will result in our greatest regrets. What a man can become, he must become, or he will be miserable. It’s the only way to be true to ourselves, and more importantly, true to God. “The deepest form of despair,” warned Sören Kierkegaard, “is to choose to be another than oneself.”
At the end of the day, God isn’t going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa?” He won’t even ask, “Why weren’t you more like David?” God is going to ask, “Why weren’t you more like you?”
Excerpted from Soulprint by Mark Batterson Copyright (c) 2011 by Mark Batterson. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.