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Monday, 23 May 2011

hidden lives and unhistoric acts

It fills me with a mixture of hope and of quiet sadness that we so often do not recognise the value of others and the good they do in our world. We do not note the small acts of ordinary kindness, so keen are we to vaunt the exploits of the famous and the infamous, so eager to either praise or mock extravagant gestures. Our lives are steered gently by those who love us, rebuke us, protect us - even when we do not see it.  George Eliot puts it in just the right tone of voice:
...for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. - George Eliot, from Middlemarch


Ray Barnes said...

So very true. It is I believe the thousands of tiny words of comfort and kindness, small gestures and simple quiet good deeds which go largely unremarked, that allow the 'centre stage' performers to achieve their aims. Who was it I wonder who said "the meek shall inherit the earth"?

Penelopepiscopal said...

This reminds me of the lection we used to always read on All Saints' Day from Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) - let us now praise famous people... and some for whom there is no memorial...but they were merciful.

Perpetua said...

I think this is what my own blog is all about and why I don't comment much on what's in the news - just reflecting on an ordinary, unhistoric life and recording the little acts and events which give that life meaning.

"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster