What made you want to do that?

“What made you want to do that?”

That’s one of my favorite questions to ask people. There’s usually a good story in what happens in a person’s life that leads to their calling.

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I think that sums it up nicely, but what fascinates me is what happens between the two.

My wife is a nurse. It is truly her calling. I’ve seen her in action, and I can’t count the times strangers have come up to us in public and told her thank you for the job she did taking care of them.

Long before any of that happened, when she was a little girl, she took care of her aunt while she fought to beat a brain tumor that threatened her life. Her aunt is still here, and the seed God planted in that experience grew into the career my wife has now.

I recently asked my producer in Nashville when he knew he’d do what he does. He told me when he was 5 years old, his mother bought a cassette recorder that would let you record one sound over another. It was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. He couldn’t stop putting sounds together. Now, 30-something years later, he is still putting sounds together for people like Kacey Musgraves and Florida Georgia Line.

Did he know where the tape player would lead? Of course not; but God knew.

A friend of mine is the head of one of the biggest chemistry departments in the state. He got there by signing up to earn a degree in chemistry because he was in line at UNA, and that’s what his girlfriend signed up for. He stumbled blindly into the high six figures – but God had seen the future ahead of him.

In fifth grade we watched a show on PBS about Shel Silverstein. In his early career he’d been the songwriter behind hits like “A Boy Named Sue” and “The Cover of Rolling Stone.” We were watching him because he’d become the children’s poet behind “The Giving Tree” and “Where The Sidewalk Ends.”

Part of the show was him walking around in grocery store looking for ideas with a little notebook. He picked up a cluster of grapes and said “Maybe I’ll write a song or a poem about grapes.” He wrote “grapes” in the notebook.

I began to dream about my notebook and my songs and my poems.

All these years later, I’ve got gratitude in my heart and a notebook in my pocket because God has made that dream come true for me again and again. I hope you can say the same.

I hope if I asked, “What made you want to do that?” you’d have a whopper of a tale to tell. But if you don’t, keep your head up because God knows the day you find your “why” is coming.

Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.