A couple of weeks ago we had quite a storm here. I remember standing at the window and watched as the lightning lit up the sky and the thunder rumbled and shook the windows. I felt quite frightened and very insignificant. The storm raged for about half an hour followed by hours of drenching rain. I am in awe of the power of nature.
Whenever we go to the Kruger National Park, we are all very excited to see the beautiful animals in their natural habitat. We usually make it a challenge who would see the Big Five first. Each of us has our favourite , but I am particularly fascinated by the elephant. Apart from its impressive size there is something majestic about its whole demeanor. When an elephant trumpets it is as if the whole forest listens in a hushed silence. Whenever we encounter this magnificent animal we would all watch in awe as it makes its way through the bush and effortlessly snaps off a branch in its way.
Some years ago my husband and I went to an open air concert of Elton John's. I will always remember the excitement reverberating amongst the fans, it was as if the air was laden with electricity ready to ignite. When the superstar came on stage the cheering and hand clapping were deafening. When he started to play it felt as if the piano echoed within my very being and the melody swept me off my feet. I was utterly in awe of his amazing talent. In that sea of people I felt totally insignificant.
Why am I talking about a raging storm, a gigantic animal and an impressive musician? What do they have in common? Greatness. We look at them with awe and we are humbled. We become aware of how small we are, how trivial we are. The world in general are impressed by greatness. We admire that which is impressive, regal, special and phenomenal. Like a moth to a candle, people are drawn to celebrities and achievers. We believe that to be of any importance we must do great things. We believe we have to perform miracles, achieve top position in our class, win first prize and see our name in newspapers and the media. We become obsessed by achievements.
However, this belief often sets us up for disappointment and even failure. We become so lost in the idea of what we should be and what we should achieve that we loose sight of what is important. Don't get me wrong, it is important that we have a goal to strive for, it is important that we try to improve ourselves. However, when it becomes an obsession, when we feel that it is all or bust, then we need to reconsider.
I take you back to the storm. The next day there were still puddles everywhere and the grass certainly looked greener. Everything looked fresh and clean. However, the street was littered with broken branches and leaves. A tree had fallen over onto some telephone lines and a few of the lower houses were flooded. The storm brought much needed rain to the area, but it was far from perfect. Compare it now with the gentle moisture the dewdrops bring every morning. Although we hardly notice them as we rush off to work, they do their job quietly, quenching the thirst of the grass, the daffodils and the insects.
The elephant, so magnificent and awe-inspiring, yet trees are stripped of their bark and bushes are trampled underfoot. A dung beetle hastily scampers away, and after the beast has passed, carries on cleaning the forest floor. A butterfly, barely noticed, flits by, pollinating as it goes from flower to flower. Insignificant in the vastness of the forest, yet so important.
The cry of a baby, the chuckle of a toddler, the little voice in a choir, and the twitter of birds on the morning air, none of these have superstar status, but they all have their part to play in the symphony of live. Each one important and adding their beauty to complete the picture.
We were not all called to be mega stars, not all of us will do great things, but all of us can do little things with greatness. Do every little thing well and one day you will realize that there were no little things. They were all great things! That kind word you spoke stopped somebody from ending their life, that smile you gave as you passed gave somebody new hope, that door you held open made somebody believe in goodness. You will never know what impact you have had on somebody, but they will always remember what your action has meant to them.
Do little things with all your heart, that is where true greatness comes from.
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