Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Man With No Ears.

I have been overwhelmed as ever with the support and kind words of fellow bloggers, words I do not deserve. To put some minds at rest I think I have solved the problem I was facing in how to respond to the person who let us down so badly.

I will say no more about the matter other than to share with you a lovely story that I do not think I have told you before. I have twice had the joy of meeting new members to my family. The birth of my daughter and my son. Neither of them were born to perfection. My daughter was inflicted with my bent little fingers. When I was a young boy they wanted to break them and reset them but I still have them to this day and they have not got in my way. My son was born with a birthmark that early in his life resulted in the loss of an eye. Both of them in their imperfections are the absolute joy and love of my life. To me they are all that any father could ever ask for.

So to the story.

"Can I see my baby?" the happy new mother asked. When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The baby had been born without ears. Time proved that the baby's hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred.

When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother's arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks.

He blurted out the tragedy. "A boy, a big boy ... called me a freak."

He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. "But you might mingle with other young people," his mother reproved him, but felt a kindness in her heart.

The boy's father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done? "I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured," the doctor decided.

Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man. Two years went by.

Then, "You are going to the hospital, Son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it's a secret," said the father. The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs. Later he married and entered the diplomatic service. "But I must know!" He urged his father, "Who gave so much for me? I

could never do enough for him." "I do not believe you could," said the father, "but the agreement was that you are not to know, not yet."

The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come ... one of the darkest days that a son must endure. He stood with his father over his mother's casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal that the mother had no outer ears.

"Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut," he whispered gently, "and nobody ever thought Mother less beautiful, did they?"

Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance, but in the heart. Real treasure lies not in what that can be seen, but what that cannot be seen. Real love lies not in what is done and known, but in what that is done but not known.

This blog is linked to my other. My Paintings Seem To Be Like Buses


  1. Perfect story, perfect timing, perfect love. That is what life should be about, Ralph.

  2. Too often we see only the surface. I know someone who is so bright, full of laughter and love; a wonderful heart and outlook on life. She is so loved by her husband and daughter. What a pity her mother-in-law sees only her inadequte, by her standards, houskeeping and her 'slurred' speech. She has limited mobility in her arms and jaw as a result of an accident as a youngster.
    I find myself constantly telling her mother-in-law to 'look beyond the surface' and see the beautiful person inside.

  3. I wish we all could treat everybody, not just our own children, with that amount of love and generosity. That story prompts me to remember my reading from last summer... that the truest source of happiness is when we are doing good for others. We garner more joy from being kind and generous than we do from any self-indulgent ventures. I don't think that was the point of your story, exactly, but that's where my mind went. Probably because I needed the reminder this week, to let go of some self-righteous thoughts that have been brewing and turn all my energy to others, unconditionally. I'm not sure why all that needed to be posted in a blog comment... sorry.

  4. hi my dear Ralph! i am so glad to read and catch up with your posts. perspective is everything. loved your story about the prison chaplaincy...the "lucky" day! you shine.

  5. You are deserving of our words and friendship Ralph. What a touching story. Look at the beautiful art you create with your hands. :)

  6. ...Mothers are like this--they would definitely give their child whatever they least mine was like that. Thanks for the story. :)