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, a weaver who sat day after toilsome day at his window as long as there was light, and he said solemnly afterwards, ‘They didn’t speak, but they 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, bound by necessity to his machine, makes them human to us forever.”
Aren’t people like that a gift!? No matter how tough their lives are they keep the romance in their souls and make the world brighter, lovelier. They’re able to see what the rest of us can’t—those of us made hard and cynical or perhaps just too hurt that our poor hearts, because of the 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 defied the suffocating world and kept 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 worker 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. It’s said that Love is blind, but love is not blind. It is an extra eye that shows us what is most worthy of regard. To see the best, the honorable, but what is truly felt, that is to see most clearly, and it’s the lover’s privilege.”
People like the over-worked weaver won’t end up with a ton of money in the bank but they’re 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, these people, or multi-national companies but they build dreams and open to us the possibility of a life that’s filled with the joy of hope and warmth and they’ll go down to their well-earned graves with a contented heart.
Maybe you’ve met such people. The kind who aren’t too sweet to be wholesome but who are sensitive to the good and lovely that lies hidden just below the surface of an unpromising appearance.
Maybe you are one! Maybe you too are one of the millions that are tied to a job and to responsibilities that make truly heavy demands of you; but not so heavy that you’ve allowed them to blind you to the beauty that is in life—a beauty that a great host of us can’t see. And if you are one of those, God bless you. God has blessed you. Thank you!
Jesus said that even a cup of cold water given in His name will not be forgotten, will not go without reward. The beauty and glory that’s in you changes a dreary world and just by hearing of or, better, knowing someone like you, we are changed or are given the chance to change. You don’t keep a record of your good words, looking for that reward Jesus spoke of; you you don’t think of it in that way; you don’t think of it at all. You simply have the heart for it and turn to people like us and say with a smile, “Did you see how they looked at each other?” And if we’re blessed like you we’ll have seen it and if we haven’t, your sweet, strong, deathless spirit will infect us and maybe we too will begin to see, or at least to look.
Thank you! Thank you for the cups of cold water you are handing out without the blowing of trumpets.
(Holy Father, thank you for the warm—honorable—but warm people of the world who keep our hearts beating and make us smile even when we don’t feel like smiling. This thankfulness, in Jesus’ name.)