Sunday, May 10, 2015

Families, Valets, and Cynics

A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred. –Jesus

No man is a hero to his valet. –Not attributed

People read these sayings and think, well, sure, this is because the prophet’s family is far more aware of his failings, as is the hero’s valet, so they have a more “realistic view” of the individual. But what about the other side of the coin: what about the blindness that comes with over familiarity and the small mindedness of the petty that blinds family and valets to true greatness?

I have witnessed parents denigrating their child, calling him dumb or scatterbrained because of a small oversight on the child’s part, who are utterly clueless as to the child’s greatness of intellect or talent. Every night at the dinner table they are sitting with a budding young Einstein, Beethoven, or Jobs, whose light is going to astonish many, and they sit there making fun of the child’s shortcomings and idiosyncrasies? Talk about child abuse. And, yes, the same can be said of some siblings and spouses.

And what of the valet who fails to see his employer’s heroism because it is the nature of valet’s to castigate anyone and everyone who’s light might shine greater than his?

The cynicism of family and valet’s is not a commentary on the Great or the Heroic but upon the cynic who chooses to remain blind to the complete truth about the individuals they condemn, ridicule, and dismiss. Sure. They go around saying that if George Washington had been their child or St Pope John Paul II had been their priest or minister or Winston Churchill had been their spouse or if they had worked for Henry Ford, then they would have acknowledged the greatness and heroism. The reality is that, if you are blind to the greatness of others today, you wouldn’t have seen greatness back-in-the-day.   

May God wash away all cynicism and open the eyes of the blind so that we may see the complete truth of those around us: their worth to God, their value to all who know them, and the heroic manner in which they live their lives and engage their talents in serving others.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2015

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