The Picture of Greatness

This post is dedicated to Nina (10) and Nia (7). They told me they had given up cookies, candy, chips, and soda. I told them that writing was my Lenten sacrifice this year. So, I offer it up.


Yesterday there was a photo floating around the internet of Betty Shabazz, Shirley Chisolm, Marian Anderson, and Dorothy Height. When I saw the picture, I thought to myself, “I wonder if they knew who they were when they took this picture.” Did they know they were trailblazers? Legacy builders? History makers? Did they know who they were?

I immediately thought about my own photos. Pictures I’ve taken in various places with people of lesser to greater notoriety. I was excited to capture the moment because I was with someone great. But thirty years from now when my photo surfaces in cyberspace, will someone look at it and say, “I wonder if she knew who she was.”

True greatness is measured by impact and influence. Legacies aren’t always built with microphones. Sometimes legacies are built in conversation with homeless sisters over coffee at Starbucks while penning a blog post before rushing to a meeting overlooking the White House. Sometimes legacies are built by cajoling teen girls into reading books about dating violence and female genital mutilation. Sometimes they’re built by nine-year-old boys calling you at work to ask you if Jesus had a wife. And sometimes legacies are built by whispering to some unsure soul that “Yes, God gets it.”

The thing about trails is that they’re made and followed one crumb at a time. One step. One day. One decision. One moment at a time.

This picture captured great women, converged for one moment in time.

I wonder if they knew who they were.

I wonder if you know who you are.

4 thoughts on “The Picture of Greatness

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