THE HEART OF A POOR ROMANTIC
Here's what J.M. Barrie said in his book The Little Minister, "Long ago a minister of Thrums was to be married, but something happened, and he remained a bachelor. Then, when he was old, he passed in our square the lady who was to have been his wife, and her hair was white, but she, too, was still unmarried. The meeting had only one witness, a weaver, and he said solemnly afterwards, 'They didna speak, but they just gave one another a look, and I saw the love-light in their eyes.' No more is remembered of these two, no being now living ever saw them, but the poetry that was in the soul of a battered weaver makes them human to us for ever."
"They didn't speak but I saw the love-light in their eyes."
Aren't people like that weaver medicine for the heart? No matter how tough their lives are they keep the romance in their souls and make the world brighter. They're able to see what the rest of us—those of us made hard and cynical by disappointment and loss—can no longer see. There may have been a time when our hearts raced at the sight of someone we held precious; there may have been a time when we were sensitive enough to notice the shy but warm glances that passed between people but for many of us those days are gone. The light has either gone out or grown dim and we resign ourselves to live in the twilight until along comes a "battered weaver" who defies the suffocating world and keeps his soul alive. Barrie doesn't say if his battered weaver was married or was in love with a particular someone or had ever been in love, but he makes it clear that the toil-worn weaver was a lover and love has eyes.
Later in his novel he tells how the preacher Gavin Dishart falls in love with Babbie the gypsy girl who at first has little interest in the preacher. But that was only at first—before he kissed her. "Until the moment when he kissed her she had only conceived him as a quaint fellow whose life was a string of Sundays, but behold what she saw in him now. Love, it is said, is blind, but love is not blind. It has deeper clearer vision, which shows us what is most worthy of regard. To see the best is to see most clearly, and it is the lover's privilege."
Mind you, love makes its home in the rich as well as the poor and this is a lovely thing—and it's only fair to keep that truth in mind. But while we don't deny that and we certainly don't begrudge the loveliness of love to the wealthy, somehow we're more pleased at such good fortune when we see it in the poorer people. Why is that do you suppose? The answer's obvious isn't it!
In any case, people like the over-worked weaver won't end up with a ton of money in the bank but they are able to uncover treasure that all the tycoons in creation can't buy. You have to have the heart, don't you see? They won't build grand skyscrapers or multi-national companies [and those can be things to be proud of and to rejoice in] but they build dreams and open to us the possibility of a life that's filled with the joy of hope and warmth even in the absence of many other comforts. Maybe you've met such people; the kind who aren't too sweet to be wholesome but who are cheerful and sensitive to the good and lovely that lies hidden just below the surface of an unpromising appearance.
So what's our response to be? Bah! Humbug?