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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Coming Out of One’s Shell

Once when I was a young man we had a neighbor who told me that I needed to come out of my shell.  I was particularly inhibited most of the time and afraid, I guess, that if someone really got to know me they would be disappointed and reject me.  The man who told me this was Rev. Aldridge—an extrovert by nature who though in his eighties drove a red Ford Mustang and had drawings of chimps about his house playing poker and smoking cigars.  I greatly admired Rev. Aldridge and wished mightily that I had more of what he had.  Tonight I saw a biography of John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) [Wikipedia] and recognized again that people with often peculiar ideas can have self-confidence as strong as the Rock of Gibraltar, and because of this self-confidence can be very influential—even forming a popular institution where many flock to hear their views.  So tonight I tip my hat to all those strong characters (another neighbor, Mrs. Northcutt, comes to mind) who will be themselves and express their minds no matter what.  Actually, I can’t help but feel that such people are extending compliments to others.  They are saying, in effect, that I’m going to be myself and I know that you can take it—you are strong enough to make up your own mind about me and my ideas.  Their resolute attitude is “I may just be one among many—but I will be one.”

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