Monday, December 19, 2011

Greatness?

I heard a comment today that went something like, "are there truly any great people alive in the world today?"

I had to think about that.

At first...blank. Sure, there are people who aspire to greatness but is there any one person, right now, who is truly great?

A politician? A movie star? A Nobel prize winner? Not really. I'm usually more interested in the stage crew than the one in the spotlight.

Then I thought of categories. The first two that came to mind were nurses and teachers. I once saw a nurse do something that was a like a secret between us and her goal was simply to maintain the patient's dignity, a patient who will never know what she did. And of course, Mr. Thomas, my Grade 5 teacher, who spent an entire afternoon teaching me to skate, a parcel of time I open again and again. His actions taught me how important it is to attend to people, to say, I see you and you are important.

Although I'm inspired by people from my past, the question remained incomplete, like a puzzle with one missing piece: who in the world right now is truly great?

And then I wondered, how do I define greatness? I've always loved artists and writers and architects and engineers and filmmakers and carpenters and chefs. In other words, I love people who make candy out of sugar and sugar out of candy. For me, greatness is creativity. It's problem solving, it's chutzpah, it's moxie, it's perseverance, it's overcoming obstacles. It's thinking realized. That sort of greatness so inspires me. I always wish I were more like those people. And there are so many I could name but....

And then I remembered Amy Purdy. Her story and the way she told it moved me. She's just an ordinary young woman who decided how tall she wanted to be. What's more creative than that?

Who do you think, right now, is truly great?

7 comments:

Vinny C said...

I think there still are great people out there. Like those teachers & nurses you mentioned. The difference nowadays is that their deeds aren't widely known. Sometimes greatness just needs a publicist.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Our world and media focus on the loudest and the shiniest. Truly great people are often neither. That's why we have to look for them ourselves. And yes, they're out there.

Pickleope said...

There are plenty of truly great people, we just don't get to hear about them. They're too busy selflessly devoting themselves to making the world a better place to be self-promoters.
I liked this post. It actually made me more optimistic.

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

The unsung heroes are always the true heroes.

Windsmoke. said...

Its the quiet achievers behind the scenes that make it all happen there wouldn't be great people if it wasn't for them :-).

G said...

Aung San Suu Kyi
...woman is awesome

Chelle said...

I like to think I'm truly great, especially after a martini or three. Extra olives.

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