Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Ones Nearest

Toledo Blade - Mar 27, 1913

The Ones Nearest

It has become an old saying that a man-or woman, for that matter-is rarely a notable person in his or her own immediate surrounding. Perhaps I should use the word appreciated, rather than notable, for that is what it amounts to. One can be quite notable and yet little appreciated by those in the same community.

Many characters whose books we have read, or whose deeds have made them famous, might not appeal to us near by as associates and friends, as when known only by reputation. One of the most interesting writers, in my judgment, was the last W. H. Hudson, the beloved writer on nature subjects. He had few close friends, but those were genuine. Even his biographer, Morley Roberts, as well as friend, once wrote to him saying that he did not really know him. This prompted Hudson to reply that the last words of his favorite brother, were these: "Of all people I know, you are the only one I have ever known,"

It is true that we are often better known by those with whom we have not had intimate contact than by our nearest and dearest of kin. The ones nearest, after all, are those who might be able to fathom what might express as the inner burial of ourselves, but it rarely works out that way.

The fact that we are quite a a puzzle to ourselves undoubtedly has much to do with tie midjudgment and lack of understanding on the part of those with whom we are closest in contact. On the other hand, what opportunities we left fly past without even attempting to unbury the mystery, or perhaps the secret, to that one's personality.

Little keys often unlock great doors. Perhaps the little key of tact, of kindness in an unusual way or of some surprise deftly arranged, would open this big door to many a one long closed. One of the greatest and most important of all doors in this life is that of love. And ever since the world began it has taken but a tiny key to open it.

How tragic that this one door is so often kept closed to the one nearest and dearest. Isn't it worth the effort to put that little unused key to work?