Our society puts such attention on fame, fortune and fun. Constantly the pull that if you are not known by many or important in some way you have wasted your life, or not lived up to your potential. This attitude is tragic and disasterous.
My mother-in-law, Gloria Lewis, died this last August. She was only 56 and cancer finally got her after 2 years of fighting. She was not a famous person. She was not rich or anything at all glamorous. She was a school teacher, a mom and a wife.
Yet, there were over 200 people at her funeral. Many of them had been deeply affected by her. Fellow teachers, students, students' parents, friends and of course family all had stories about what she had done. She did not need anything glamorous or showy or even what most people would consider "important" to change lives. This coming week they are dedicating this bench at her school in her memory, in honor of all the "simple" things that she did.
I wish I had known her longer, and when she was not fighting cancer. The love and devotion of her friends and family is a testament to the powerful yet subtle impact she had on the world.
Having a "big impact" in the world is alluring to both the idealist and the opportunist. But while we hear every day about the important people, in the media and news and politics and history, it is the people like Gloria that carry the real power in the world.
For the most part, even remarkable men and women are merely the spark for an already primed series of events. It is the undercurrent, the day to day beliefs and strengths and struggles that determine what these "important" people can accomplish. The man who works all his life to provide for a family, raises his children to be moral and respectful and to work hard, treats his wife with respect and love and shows the people around him concern and gentleness is the kind of person on whom civilization rests. They are the people that keep life on Earth bearable, that God has given to us as an example of the power He has given to all of us, if we simply learn to obey and love. It is not glamorous, but it IS noble and grand.
Even more horrific is when these men and women are lacking. When selfishness and vice and anger and laziness are predominant, the kind of horrible things that can happen are beyond imagination. We talk often about the evil of Adolph Hitler, but what about the society that allowed him to come to power? As the "common man" is the crucial block in building society, so can he be the wrecking ball.
I could go on for a long time about this. It is close to me personally, as I am drawn heavily to the idealist end of the "important" spectrum. But I always try to remember that it is the simple things that are important in the end. Gloria was a living example of this, and in that she has impacted yet one more life. I pray the story will impact yours.