Doing small things with great love

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

This Southern Baptist's favorite future Catholic saint would have to be Mother Teresa. That wizened little woman had a heart as big as all outdoors and a lot of wisdom.

I have a book of her quotes I re-read from time to time.

One of those quotes goes like this: "We cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love."

Those words keep cropping up in my mind of late.

I thought about Butler County – a place neither large in population or wealth – and yet it is one of the most giving places you will find on the map.

Vivian Killingsworth told me our county was number seven in the entire state in the amount of funds raised for the American Cancer Society last year. That's out of 67 counties. That's impressive.

"You know, it's not like we have a lot of really big individual donors. It's just a lot of people coming together to give, to fight this disease," Miss Vivian told me.

When I asked her why she thought this basically rural and far-from-wealthy county ranks so highly, she said, "Generosity. The people of Butler County are giving people."

Alice McGee, secretary-treasurer for the Butler County United Fund, is in agreement with Vivian. Alice and I were talking after the latest team captains' meeting last Wednesday.

"This fund is supported by lots of ordinary people giving what they can afford. It may just be a dollar or two a week but they are faithful to do it, year after year," Alice told me.

It brought to mind the story of the widow's mite in the Bible and of "widow ladies" I have known throughout the years, dear souls who had little money but were nonetheless generous with what they did have.

Our county has displayed tremendous generosity and compassion to the evacuees from Katrina and Rita, so much so we've been featured on national TV for our efforts.

I don't think a single person involved did it for the publicity, hoping to get their name in the paper or their face on TV.

I believe they simply wanted to follow the Golden Rule and "do unto others as you would have then do unto you."

The nation as a whole seems amazed at how well we have treated those seeking a temporary or new home here in Greenville.

Frankly, I'm not surprised. It's just the way we roll down here, "doing small things with great love."

It's a quality I hope this town and county never loses.

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Congratulations to Georgiana City Clerk Barbara Clem on the occasion of her retirement after 31 years of faithful service to the city and county. Enjoy yourself, Barbara and, as Mary Wallace would say, "Keep on Hankin!'" You can read about Barbara's retirement party in this week's Butler County News.

Don't forget: Concerts in the Park return to Greenville each Thursday in October at 6 p.m.

And the Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Fest arrives in town Oct. 15 and 16. Don't miss it!

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at