We are our history. Society preserves the actions of our forefathers and fosters their legacy. The institutions of today were the entrepreneurial sparks of our grandfathers. The church bodies working throughout our communities were the callings of those who saw the need. The families that break bread together have done so throughout the generations.
Great men and women built this country. But great men and women are, at the same time, small men and women.
They are great for their noted actions: starting a business, volunteering for causes, building, creating, raising.
But they were also great because of the small moments: teaching a son to crawfish, walking their daughter to their first day of school, cleaning a grandson’s scrapes, cuddling their great-grandchildren.
The people who shaped our community did so in two ways. They did it in great ways – in the moment with their hands and their will. They also did so in the small ways – by continuing to shape it through us, through the lessons they taught us.
One example of a great man, and a small man, was Mr. Floyd Lowe. He was great as one of Green Turtle’s patriarchs. He started the Cays’ ferry and was known throughout The Bahamas. He impacted many lives through his actions and voice. He was also a small man. A man who touched hearts – those of his family and many others.
Another example is my grandmother, Sylvia Albury. She was a great woman: an entrepreneur and a powerful force for good in her community of Man-O-War and wherever else she went. She was also a small woman: tender to her grandchildren, strong for her children and the love of my grandfather’s life for 61 years.
It’s easy to confuse great and small. In fact, the measure of a man or woman is arbitrary when stacking up their deeds, acts and property. In the end what matters is how they affected you. That cannot be measured as great OR small. That is intimate and profound. A gift.
We carry that gift. And we should continue to build on their legacy.
Our country, and our communities, face many challenges ahead. But if we hold on to the memory of those who came before us who were great, then we can affect change in small ways.