Homebodies-Each person has a story


By Rita Friesen

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It was a random quote that caught my attention; ‘Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.’ Henry James. And just a bit further down another quote; ‘Don’t wait for people to be friendly. Show them how.’ And again the author was Henry James.

The name was foreign to me, but his words of wisdom intrigued me. Headed to Google to see who this wise man was. Henry James was born in 1843 in New York City, New York, and died in London, United Kingdom, in 1916.  He was from a wealthy family and spent his time travelling between Europe and the United states. He was ahead of his time in his attitude on feminism, and was a prolific writer. He was regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism, and is considered by many to be among the greatest novelists in the English language. All that and have never read any of his writings. The most notable would appear to be: The Portrait of a Lady, The Turn of the Screw, and The Wings of the Dove. Many of his quotes have made their way into inspirational collections, and most come from his writing. It’s not that he sat down and created single thought provoking statements, these have been gleaned from his works.

I appreciate single sentences that make me stop and think. I appreciate novels that make me stop and think as well, most times I don’t believe I have the time to read one! I may research the novels by Henry James and choose one. I may. The first one that caught my attention, the one about being kind even when perhaps we don’t like the person needing kindness. There is a benediction that has become dear to me, it is a Celtic blessing for the journey, it concludes with these words, and I quote-‘May you see the face of Christ in everyone you meet, and may everyone you meet see the face of Christ in you.’ Now, would that not change how we see and treat others? Back to having kindness in our power, even when fondness is not. That second quote, about being friendly, Ed showed me how to do that. There were times when that being friendly needed a heavy dose of the first quote. Each person has a story, and taking time to hear the story often assists seeing them in a friendly way. Along that line is the quote, ‘a stranger is just a friend I haven’t met.’

The depth of wisdom in some of the quotes truly does make me want to read at least one of his books.  Then there are some quotes that simply made me smile. That alone makes them worthy!  “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” To that I say – bring it on! And in conclusion: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” Also Henry James