Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Value of Small Things

Somehow, for some reason, we mortals get it into our heads that we must do amazing things to make a valuable contribution to the world. Average, ordinary people doing the simple and mundane tasks of everyday life might feel their efforts don't matter.
We are led to believe that if the world doesn't remember us than we are not worth remembering. And if that is true than our efforts, our dreams, our accomplishments, our sufferings all are for naught.
Over the past few month I have been reminded of the fleeting nature of life. I have been reminded of the fickle fancies of fame and recognition. I have also been reminded that this is a worldy, mortal perspective; not an eternal one.
I have spent many months researching my family history. I scanned hundreds of old photographs and compiled many of them onto a DVD for my family. During all this research I kept looking for something noteworthy. I was secretly hoping to find that I was descended from someone important; a historical figure, an artist, an inventor, a writer, a rebel. It didn't really matter what or who.
It was subtle at first. I didn't even consciously realize it. But after months of research, finding solid connections from one generation to antoher, I was still disappointed.
I realized that I was really searching for validation, a legacy of somekind, to give me... I don't know what. Motivation? Something to live up to? Bragging rights?
I found that I share a common ancestor with Benedict Arnold. Yay. According to Ancestry.com's Famous Relative Finder I probably share common ancestors with twelve presidents, numerous actors and actresses, inventors, writers, and politicians. But none of that really means anything to me. Being 10th cousin twice removed to Walt Disney and Julia Child does not make me artistic or a good cook.

What does bring meaning to my life?

Having children? No. Not completely. I mean, yes, bringing a new life into the world is meaningful but plenty of people do that without making it a meaningful expereince.

Being a caregiver? Could be. But again, many people fuill this role and are as faceless and forgotten as strangers.

Teaching? Again, no.

Coaching a team?

Cleaning the house?

Caring for the sick?

All valuable, meaningful efforts but often forgettable.

That's the point, isn't it?

Those millions of tiny,  pebbles build into a mountain of good.


1 comment:

cherilynn said...

that is so funny, i just shared this same quote with the primary kids after i saw the movie.