The Wonder of Us

A friend told me that she almost died in her early twenties. She said she thought she had been spared because one of her as yet unborn offspring (my word, not hers) or their offspring would do something vital. Perhaps, for example, her young granddaughter will grow up to be president. (Frankly, I think she shouldn’t set her sights so low.) It made me sad that she thought her importance to the world lay not in herself, but in her grandchildren, and it got me to thinking about what makes us important.

Most of us will never be known outside of our circle of family and friends, will never even have fifteen minutes of fame. Most of us will never change the world or make an earthshaking discovery. Most of us will never be wildly successful, though many of us will be quietly successful — at living, if nothing else. Most of us will never satisfy all our dreams, though we will be mostly satisfied with the dreams that do come true. In other words, in the eyes of the world, most of us will never be important.

And yet . . .

We unimportant folks are people of peace. We don’t start wars, don’t start fights, and seldom start arguments. We give more than we take. We nurture more than we smother, help more than hinder, solve more problems than we generate. We create more than we destroy. We try to do the right thing, though we don’t always know what that might be. We appreciate more than we denigrate. We are often kind and seldom mean. We usually give credit where credit is due and don’t demand more credit than we deserve. We are seldom prejudiced, and if we are, we never let our bias get in the way of how we treat others. We are grateful more than we are regretful.

We value a rich life more than we value a life of riches. We care for this world and for the creatures that depend on it. We feast on beauty, though we might not always agree on what is beautiful. (Besides sunsets. We all see the beauty in sunsets. Not one of us has ever looked at a sunset and said, “oh, how hideous.”)

We love more than we hate.

So, even though most of us will never be considered important, we are probably more important to the world than those who are considered important. And that is the wonder of us.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”

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10 Responses to “The Wonder of Us”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I’d kind of like a middle ground: I’d like to be important and influence plenty of people with my writing (and make a living off of my writing), but I don’t want to not be able to go outside without being recognized. I prefer quiet and my time alone, and besides, if I could only hang out with other celebrities, I might be in trouble, because I geek out whenever I see OSU’s Presdient Gordon Gee (3 times in the past 2 years, and two of them in the past week)!

  2. shadowoperator Says:

    Pat, I think this is one of the most beautiful posts you’ve written, and certainly one of the most thought-provoking. If only those trying so desperately to get ahead in life had some of the same goals you so generously credit “the rest of us” with, then the “we” would be more universal, and the universe a little better.

  3. Aaron Paul Lazar Says:

    Amen, Pat. Beautifully stated, and so very true in all respects… thank you!

  4. Amrita Skye Blaine Says:

    Nice, thanks. Possible typo? Don’t you mean “And yet” instead of “Any yet?
    Skye

  5. leesis Says:

    a beautiful post Pat. I thought also of the pebble in the water effect. Our actions however small as long as kind create change in others lives that we may never know about. I don’t care whether I’m percieved as important or not but I do hope that I contribute something good to those I come in contact with. I so honour the values you show through this post Pat.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you, leesis. Yes, a ripple effect — we might never know what or if we have contributed to others, and I’m not sure the knowing is important. As with everything, it’s the doing that’s important.


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