Unvisited Tombs

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Do not forget that a faithful life of quietly serving others is of great importance. Think on the people that have most shaped you – were they famous, were they flamboyant, or were they quietly and faithfully loving and serving others?

I just finished the book How To Write A Sentence by Stanley Fish. The book is a great deal more interesting than its title might imply. I can imagine many cringing at the title as they remember high school English classes. However, in my opinion, it is quite a good book. One of the quotes Mr. Fish has in the book is by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) in her book Middlemarch. The quote is as follows:

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: 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.”

Eliot, George. (1871-1872). Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life 

Mr. Fish goes on to say in his commentary on this sentence:

“. . . to rest in ‘unvisited tombs’, a phrase that might in some other sentence have the sound of melancholy and failure, but here rings with quiet triumph. Faithful souls need no external signs of their worth to validate them; visits would be superfluous, . . . [they] need neither tombs nor visitors.”

Fish, Stanley Eugene. (2011). How To Write A Sentence and How to Read One. 1st Ed. HarperCollins Publishers. New York, NY.

Mr. Fish (and George Eliot) makes an important point. Most often, the quiet faithful people who go about living life faithfully serving others and who are not seeking fame or notoriety; people who need no external validation are the ones truly making this world a better place to live. They are the ones making you and I better people.

You don’t have to be a hero to make a difference.