I visited a friend in Washington, DC this past weekend. We walked on the mall Friday night to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a beautiful evening. The lighting inside the memorial was subdued except for lights accenting the massive marble statue of Lincoln, sitting there, gaze fixed toward the WashingtonMonument and the Capital building beyond.
The whole dreamlike scene leaves quite an impression. I was reminded of what a great man this servant of the people became. Yet, Abraham wasn’t born great. He became great.
He came into this world just like the rest of us; helpless, crying and completely dependant on others. Before he was gone, a nation in great pain came to depend on him. He was sorely tested, rose to the challenge and prevailed. The effects of his leadership are still felt today.
How did this man, from such humble beginnings, come to be so great? We would all like to know. Deep down, I believe we would all like to be great like Abraham.
Did he choose to be great or was greatness thrust upon him? Did he have special talents and unique abilities more special and unique than the rest of us? Or, did he make the greatest use of them?
I would like to believe that any of us could be an Abraham Lincoln, that we have in us the potential for such greatness, maybe not to the same degree or scale but just as great nonetheless.
Are we not already just us great in the eyes of those around us, the one’s who care about us and who care for us. If not, is that their fault or ours? I believe becoming great is a choice and is reflected in our interactions with others.
Becoming great means helping, healing and listening to those for whom we say we care. Becoming great means creating, innovating and leading to serve those we wish to help. Becoming great means providing more in value than the resources we consume so that we leave a worthy and memorable legacy.
Just like Abraham.