There is a sermon that my father preached (as kids we used to say that the past tense of preach should be praught!) that stays with me today. It was a momentous occasion, as the service was being broadcast live on the radio. You can imagine how proud we were in Salem, to know that we were ‘live streaming’ way before the internet came along!
The sermon was based on the concept “Who among these is great”. He spoke of the story of Herod the Great, an important man in his day, and how he came to be called Great. Unfortunately I can only remember one of his other examples of greatness. He compared Herod the Great with a simple country woman who was in Chapelton hospital and was clearly dying. She told Dr. Robins she wanted to be sent home. Dr. Robins blew up on her (as usual!), “Woman you mad? You don’t see you are on dying?” She knew she was, but she answered that the cost of a taxi was much less than the cost of carrying the body back up to her village. And her family did not have the money to carry her body back home.
I recently heard a similar selfless story from one of my students. Her grandmother had suffered from a brain tumor, and after having several gamma knife treatments decided she wanted no more. She would live out her last days as comfortably as possible, under Hospice care. During her last weeks the student who helped to nurse her asked her why she had stopped taking the treatments. She told her that she knew that if she died under treatment, that the granddaughter was not ready for her to die. This way she had time to prepare for it. Rather than choose the less painful way for herself, she thought of her granddaughter. And now the granddaughter is going to nursing school.
Who among us is great today? We often get caught up in our pride, and make choices to try to look better. It is not easy to accept that we all have a lot to learn. Jamaica is not a nation known for humility. On the contrary, we all know that Jamaicans are the best at everything! As we turn 50, and get ready to strut our stuff in London, perhaps it is a good idea to remember that a little humility is always good.
Being humble means accepting that we don’t have all the answers, and that we can still learn from others. Being humble means being open to new thoughts and ideas. Being humble means being ready to admit when we are wrong, and accepting constructive criticism when it comes along. It may not be easy, but if we want to grow as people we first have to admit that there is room for growth, both individually and nationally.
True greatness does not need to be trumpeted loudly abroad. It speaks for itself. When we think of some of the ‘greats’ of our time, Nelson Mandela; Gandhi; Mother Theresa; and so many more, we don’t see them as arrogant or bragadocious. We see humble. People who saw themselves as part of the whole of humanity, with a job to do. On this Friday morning let us remember that no matter our age or standing in this world, we can all stand a little humility as we look at our place in this world. And then maybe we can begin to be great.
One Love Family! Have a great weekend and a great life. And to those who are supporting my latest endeavor (my fiction published as Life in Black and White on wordpress) Nuff Love and thanks for all the support!