Since time immemorial, greatness has been celebrated and immortalized in clay, stone, marble, steel, bronze and gold. The Kemetian or Egyptian builders erected the pyramids as monuments to the reigns of its most powerful pharaohs. The Ancient Greeks, likewise, carved massive statues as tributes to its emperors. As Americans, we, too, have erected statues and edifices to our former presidents, war heroes and martyrs.
Few others, however, will have massive statues created in their likeness or buildings named in their honor. Still, we all desire and deserve to be remembered, ultimately, for our lives to have mattered.
But are we any less worthy, worthy of immortality? I would say we are not, not the father who raises sons to be responsible, thoughtful and successful men; the teacher, who demands more from students when everyone, including themselves are expecting less; the single-parent mom, who supports a family while working two jobs and attending school online; nor the adult son who negates his own personal pursuits to care for an ailing and aging parent.
Their monuments, however, are constructed from the gifts they have offered others, and that is, to live by example, and to directly impact those who will continue to affect others positively for generations.
Often times, it is not the heroic act or an international achievement that ensures our greatness, but the grace, character and sacrifice we demonstrate in the face of challenge or the wisdom and empathy unselfishly shared that provide impactful life lessons and a model for others.
Quite simply, if we cannot change the world, we should at least change our small part of it and the lives of those closest to us.
And for that, we become immortal.
Eric Christopher Webb © 2016
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The WordsByWebb blog distributes a weekly quotation and reflection every Tuesday from National Black Authors Tour bestselling author and multi-talented writer Eric Christopher Webb (E.WEBB?!) to inspire, motivate and encourage personal development of its readers. The blog also regularly shares news, updates, new poetry and excerpts of the writer’s latest work. Webb, a spoken word artist, former Washington News Correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and nationally-syndicated Soul Searching columnist, has also been featured in movies, music videos, commercials and literary documentaries on HBO, BET Weekend’s Evening of Spoken Word, BET’s Rap City, Video Jukebox, The Party Machine, The Learning Channel, Voice of America and XM Radio. He is the author of five books, including "The Garvey Protocol: Inspired By True Events," a 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award Finalist for First Fiction and the National Black Authors Tour bestseller, "Love Letters, Death Threats & Suicide Notes." He has also contributed to numerous anthologies, journals and magazines.
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