Guidelines: Look for Greatness


By Simon Ambit

I recently read the following statement by an unknown author: “Someday we will find what we are looking for. Or maybe we won’t. Maybe we will find something much greater than that.” Keeping in the spirit of this thought I want to recount a story.

Last week I attended the funeral services of an elderly friend. She was extremely kind and proper; she was such a shining example of dignity and goodness. During the course of the services, a family member spoke to the following summarized account.

The story was told of how the family was going on a trip to Washington D.C. and that one of the teenage granddaughters was less than excited to go. Having a bad attitude about the whole ordeal, the teenager was sulking in self-pity. Then, the family made a stop at Arlington Cemetery and up to The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a memorial to those service men and women, who have died without their mortal remains having been identified. Having been to the memorial and witnessing the changing of the guard, I can tell you that it is a special and sacred place.

As the family visited the ceremony of the changing of the guard, this young lady with the sore attitude stood next to her grandmother. As the sacred ceremony took place, something overcame her. Here she sat feeling bad for and worrying about only herself and in front of her marched soldiers who were dedicated to preserving and protecting a memorial of a fellow comrade whom they’d never known. As her wise grandmother leaned over and simply but wisely asked something like: “Now, was this really that bad of a place to come to?” She then realized that this country in all of its greatness, opportunities and freedom, is founded upon those who looked outside themselves and served, fought for, and at times died for what they believed was the right and greater good.

She shared the thought about the experience that, she changed in that moment, to the point that she gained years of wisdom in those few moments of her grandmother’s thought provoking question and the hollowed setting of the ceremony. Her account helped lift me and reminded me to avoid selfishness.

I am grateful for the life of this dear friend and her devoted example of strength and kindness. I hope to be more like her; I hope that we all can. The world is full of that which is right and kind and great, but if we’re not careful these can live in the shadows of the ill news that so prevalently takes the spotlight. Life is great, go find what you’re looking for…or maybe something much greater than that!

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