I’ve been thinking about Barbara Sullivan’s grandparents who I wrote about in my post yesterday. She credits them as one of the reasons why she is a survivor, able now to help rather than depend on others.
In that context, I’ve been thinking about my own mother who in her too-short life gave me the foundations of so much happiness and riches. I sure didn’t think so at the time. I was going to do something far more meaningful and important than having babies and cooking meals and playing cards with my children. I was going to be one of the Great and the Good, and I really did mean Great.
But now on the other side of most of the years that are going to be given to me, I think fame and fortune, even the saintly kind to which I aspired, is chimera. We don’t know how what we do will resound, for better or worse, down the centuries after we are dead. But I doubt very much it’s got much to do with fame.
I have no doubt that what we do does resound down the centuries. I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with love or lack of it, with being as fully human as we can possibly be. But we cannot possibly know how what we do today might make a difference.
Barbara’s grandmother was saving boxes and bottles and cans for Barbara to open up a store under the kitchen table. Oh my goodness, how superior I would have felt as a young teenager toward doing something so pathetically simple.
But if, like Barbara’s grandmother, there is someone two generations after me able to reach out a helping hand to the neglected and abused because of something I did half a century before, truly I would feel that I could enter the hall of the great and the good.
I am overwhelmingly grateful that there were those in my life who did not have to wait as long as I have to achieve this insight.