Trying To Understand What Can Not Be Explained
What makes a great community? That question, I am sure, is asked around the table at countless town council meeting halls and functions across this land. Leaders pour over this simple question to find the magical and elusive answer of how to attain community greatness. “Do we need better politics or political leadership?” “Does our town need to save more money or spend more money?” “What changes do we need to implement? What procedures need eradicating?” I am proud to say our community has the answer. Did you catch it? The answer of what makes a great community is hidden from within. The community has to make the community great. People sitting around a table grouping great ideas together may prove to have pocketed successful outcomes, but with that strategy alone, “Greatness” will never be accomplished within a community as a whole.
A community, in the most simple of terms, is a unified body of individuals. The concept of unity is nothing compared to the experience of unity. Once you have tasted of unity, you know there is nothing that can measure to it, nothing by a long-shot. You have heard the saying, “Persecution does not make character, but reveals it.” I think the same can be said about a community. “It is not tragedy that unifies a community, but rather the outpouring of love.” Love is seen in the small gestures of kindness given every day. Love is buying bows that loving hands have made or making chicken plates to sell. Love is in the hands of everyone who purchased those plates or t-shirts or dropped dollars, quarters or pennies into the buckets with someone’s picture on it. Love is doing for others whatever good is in your heart to do. When a community unifies to do for others, Greatness is achieved!
Eric and I have felt the outpouring of love from this community and the communities that surround Telfair County. We can honestly say we have tasted of your “Greatness”. There is no way we can say thank you big enough, loud enough or long enough to convey the experience of unity and love we have felt. You are the reason we can walk through a restaurant or buy a gallon of milk with a smile on our face. You are the reason we are not shut up in our home feeling so alone and out-of-place. People of the community have wondered how we can smile and laugh and carry on. The answer is simple. The answer is YOU! There are still tears in our eyes when we greet you on the street or hug you in a restaurant, but the smile is for you, from hearts of gratitude. That, in a small way but the only way we know, is how we can say, “Thank You!”
The Thursday Grace died, before we could even process what had happened, you were there going before us. We drove through the middle of town and saw you putting up purple bows on lamps and posts and doors, both residential and commercial. While Eric and I were feeling the deepest amount of grief we had ever experienced, we also felt the arms of our community reach out and pull us near. Our deepest grief was met with overwhelming comfort.
Acts of grandeur are appealing but few are everlasting. Small but perpetual and determined deeds of kindness and love build the foundation of unity. That foundation of unity holds the monument of greatness. It is through the veil of the mundane and routine of our lives we find the potential for greatness. Like drops of water erode stone, small acts of kindness built within a community yield the bricks of unity. When people close up or from a far off gaze upon our unity, they will proclaim, “There is a monument of Greatness!” Eric and I have gazed upon you. With every card sent, prayer said, bows, signs, t-shirts, plates and donations made, we have been touched by you and marveled. With thankful hearts we say we have felt your love and unity. We have beheld your “Greatness.”