We can all name a movie (there have been a few) where the following quote has been used. “Be not afraid of greatness, some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Perhaps the Teddy Roosevelt character in ‘A night in the Museum’ might be one of them. I have intimated recently my knowledge of Shakespeare is somewhat lacking. A couple of weeks back I went to see another of the series of filmed plays from the Globe Theatre and discovered that before anyone else quoted it, Malvolio made this statement in the comedy, Twelfth Night.
As I thought about it later I realized that this assertion covers only a tiny percentage of the population. For most of us greatness is something we weren’t born with, we are never going to achieve or care whether it is thrust upon us or not. While some search for notoriety or fame which, by-the-way, is not greatness, the majority of us are happy just being ourselves.
I am sure Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, David Livingstone and many of the great inventors did not aspire to greatness. They just saw a need and wanted to make a difference. Some of the people we may consider great are not even known to the wider world. I am sure we can all name someone like this.
I think of a couple of the precious ladies who baby sat our girls when they were quite young. They were hardly known outside their own communities but they faithfully cared for our girls when needed. Never complaining and never asking for reward. They just wanted to help in the way they knew how. I guess today you would call them volunteers. Auntie Glad and Grandma Rouse, neither of whom were relatives, are almost spoken of in hushed tones in our house.
So, what about the rest of us? Maybe, it’s that we must try to be the best version of ourselves that we can. In addition, we should find something that we can do and then do it to the best of our ability. However, the major issue is that we should, in the words of the rich young ruler’s reply to Jesus, “Love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and our neighbour as our self.”( Luke 10:27.) If we all did this then ‘the rest of us’ could make a big difference to our world.