Ordinary Greatness

From back in September 2013, now with minor edits:

A few years ago, I watched Puncture starring Chris Evans, Mark Kassen, Marshall Bell, and Brett Cullen. (Caveat: This film has a well-deserved R rating.) The plot revolves around Mike Weiss (played by Chris Evans) and his partner Paul Danziger (played by Mark Kassen in a story co-written the real Paul Danziger) trying to bring suit against medical suppliers to get safety syringes into hospitals.

During one scene near the end of the film, Weiss confronts Nathaniel Price (Brett Cullen). Price represents the company trying to keep the safety syringes off the market. During their conversation, Price says something to effect of, “You think you’re here to accomplish something great, but everyone thinks that. It’s the most ordinary thought in the world.”

Price was right. Thinking that I’m here on Earth to accomplish something great is an ordinary thought. I can easily believe that at some point in time, everyone ever born thinks the same thing. Of course, Price’s intent was to convince Weiss that the ordinariness of this thought means the thought is false.

In other words, Price was saying, “Maybe some people are meant for greatness, but you are not. Give up.”

Of course, Price misses something important. His cynicism blinds him to the full truth. Yes, it is perfectly ordinary for me to imagine that I’m meant to accomplish something great. What Price doesn’t grasp is that the perfect ordinariness of a thought does not mean the thought is wrong. Everyone truly is meant to accomplish something great. When I consider this truth, I must avoid two equally destructive errors.

First, I must ignore the Nathaniel Prices of the world. Other people don’t get to limit my life with their lack of vision. Second, I must avoid becoming my own Nathaniel Price. I am meant to accomplish something great, but my something great may not be the same as or as great as your something great. I’m not likely to cure cancer, be the first man on Mars, or bring peace to the Middle East. Those great somethings are meant for someone other than me. My something great probably won’t be anything greater than being a father, husband, and teacher.

Those three roles are rather ordinary, but, again, ordinary does not mean unimportant or insignificant.

July 15th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

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