Day 19 in my daily writing challenge. Feeling pretty good about how quickly I’ve made writing daily a habit.
19. Great Minds: Write about someone you admire and you thought to have had a beautiful mind.https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/
There are few people who combine greatness of mind and greatness of heart.
An intelligent, discerning person who is also kind and caring is a rare person indeed.
The Dinner Party
You know that game, where you’re allowed to choose four people (alive or dead) to share a dinner party with you? The dead are miraculously brought back to life in the present time and you can have them all over to dinner.
Who would you choose?
I have thought of this game before, and thought of historical figures I’d like to meet. Jane Austen is usually my first pick.
But the more I think about Austen’s sharp commentary about the people around her, I wonder if I wouldn’t be disappointed to find her heart to be a little less soft than her mind is sharp.
Sharp Wit, Hard Heart
It has been my experience that sometimes the wittiest, funniest, smartest people can also be the cruelest. I don’t like cruelty and unkindness. I always feel bad whenever I find myself laughing at the expense of other people.
Why is it that great capacity of thought is often paired with a reduced capacity for empathy?
To me, the presence of both is what truly makes a mind great.
The Great Mind I Knew
I knew a person like that. She was interesting and interested. She had a lot to say, but also listened a lot. She had great superiority of mind, but was humble, caring and kind. She could speak with information on a wide variety of topics, but she also loved to learn and would absorb new ideas with delight.
Long-time readers and family members may have guessed by now who I mean.
She had her flaws, this is true.
But the greatest gift my mother gave me was to model both intellectual curiosity and compassion.
A Role Model Still
This is probably why, nearly three years after her death, her influence on me remains strong. Her death has allowed me to see some of the flaws in her character, and some of the less healthy aspects to our (rather co-dependent) relationship.
As I slowly take apart the stones of the pedestal on which she stands, I am delighted to meet her eye-to-eye.
And I am most delighted to learn that despite her flaws and despite her shortcomings, she is still a person worthy of admiration.
A person who had a heart as great as her mind.