Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Brushes With Greatness

Don't we all long to be highly regarded? Now, the girl with the sixteen piercings on her eyebrow and the pink hair and the attitude may really not give a rat's behind. But most of us...of a certain age...really just want to just be valued for whatever it is we have survived to make it to this point. But if we aren't comfortable with that...we'll sometimes just settle for brushes with greatness.

If you've ever been to New York or Los Angeles, it is highly likely that you looked around you in hopes that you would see somebody famous. I mean, I saw Kathie Lee Gifford through a window by NBC studios last December in New York City. And while I was struggling through Macy's with Jill, my mother and my aunt were across town on the elevator with Liza Minelli. I kid you not.

The highlight of my week last week was that I actually got a tweet from Collective Soul on Twitter. Yeah! It was awesome. Tonight on Twitter, one of the people I follow (as opposed to "friends" on Facebook) is at the American Idol finale in Los Angeles. He was in the room with Paula Abdul when he sent his tweet. Imagine! Another person I follow on Twitter was delighted that one of the people with the largest followings (excluding "celebrities") is now following HER. One of my daughter's friends has - as his Facebook profile picture - a photo of him with John McCain. Another friend has a brother who sends a Christmas card with somebody famous every year. The fun is figuring out who that person will be.

I think that this is why America loves American Idol so much. The contestants are talented - yes - well...except for that one guy...William Hung? But the true draw is that these people are undiscovered...normal...everyday people. We love seeing them enjoying their brush with greatness.

But what about those of us who overlook the obvious greatness of those who we come into contact with every day?

I think that sometimes we overlook the basic fact that the people in our lives who seem like nothing special will also be the people who have the biggest impact on who we are, how we think, and what we become.

How many successful people do you know? Success is measured so differently from person to person. As for me, I admire people who can play a musical instrument like my Uncle Harry plays piano...or can sing like my mother or aunt. I admire people like my friend, Donna, who can take words and string them together beautifully in a poem that puts you smack dab in the middle of it. I admire the loving encouraging friends who have given me a thumbs up and told me to keep writing like Angie, Michele and Sandra. I admire the unbelievably beautiful flowers that my friend Kayla grows. All of these are brushes with greatness.

Because when all is said and done...the people who most profoundly affect us are the people that know us...and inspire us.

In my life...there are the people like Mr. Hugo Starling...who taught Sunday school music every week for years (I still remember that number 153 in the Cokesbury hymnal is "Love, Mercy and Grace") and was a great man in my eyes...or Mrs. Grace Hawkes, who taught 3rd grade at East Thomaston School and who told me - every time she saw me even in adulthood...that I was smart. She kept me reading...and she praised me for my effort. And then there was Mrs. Joyce Kendall, who was my 4th grade teacher...and my grandmother's eyes and ears in her last two years of her long life. These are just three of those with whom I've had brushes with greatness.

So, you live your life and make people smile as you serve, love or work with or for them...remember that you may not be totally aware of the impact you are having. In fact, if you have children, you may not know for many years.

And although it is fun to look to the rich and famous for is far better and richer to look at those who value us with their time and their gifts as the true "great ones." Later!

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