“I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.” – John Ruskin
If we agree, and I hope we do, that there’s a divine spark in each person, then each of us has something to offer. I know there some particularly hideous exceptions to that rule, but in general most people in this world are trying to do the right thing. The outrage we feel when some dark soul erupts in the world demonstrates our shared faith in humanity. Outrage originates out of a feeling of betrayal of shared beliefs.
To reach greatness in the world doesn’t require the most followers or likes on YouTube or a particular net worth. Really great people have an aura of positive energy exuding from them. Really great people lift those around them up. Really great people strap themselves to the helm to steer the ship through the worst of storms. There are plenty of really great people in the world, and you’re probably thinking of a few examples right now.
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” – Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire
Divinity isn’t within us, it runs through us in our chosen pursuits, our relationships, our empathy and our sacrifice. It’s a calling, a purpose, that demands us to give of ourselves so that others may feel the Divine Spirit as well. That spirit may mean something religious to you (capital D, capital S), or simply something far greater than ourselves.
I humbly write in pursuit of the divine – not to capture it, but to channel it through my writing. I’m a long way from greatness, but I see the path grow incrementally shorter with every hour devoted to the craft. Writing hasn’t been my life’s work to this point, but it’s woven in everything I’ve ever done. A modest, often futile attempt to share the divine that I’ve encountered in this world with you. Does that make it a purpose or a pursuit? I think the latter, but I hear the call of the former.
And shouldn’t we aspire for greatness and a way to share it?