Notes from Jan

A Novel Approach to Love

January 26, 2017

On chilly January evenings, what’s better than hot tea and a good book?  Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove, is a literary treat.  It helps the author’s Swedish and I’ve known more than one Ove in my extended family or from other Scandinavian gatherings.

Most of us know, from experience, opposites attract.  Ove’s a numbers man. “Ove’s wife sometimes jokes that the three worst words Ove knows are ‘Batteries not included.'”    When they first met, others said of Ove and  Sonja, “He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”

Who wouldn’t want to be someone’s color? or someone’s black and white predictability, stability?

These days, grocery stores and card shops display Valentine’s Day candies and assorted trinkets suggesting love.


Real love’s more like the following from Backman’s book:

Sonja said,”Loving someone is like moving into a house.  At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this.  Then over the years the walls become weathered the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather for its imperfections…you get to know all the nooks and crannies… these are the little secrets that make it your home.”

Stuff never changed the world.

Love does.



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  • Reply valerie mccoy January 26, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    And thanks be to God that my ‘love’ of 45 years still endures my imperfections…including hair that proudly points nor’east in the back of my head every morning.

  • Reply Jim Trent January 26, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    I’ve spent all day cleaning my study where I’ve been cleaning up and cleaning out accumulated stuff – some forty/fifty years old. It’s been partly boring, partly sad, partly upsetting, and partly a relief. When I read the quote from Backman, my spirits lifted. Home stuff is just stuff, some to save and treasure, and some to throw out.

  • Reply Dan & Kathy Russ January 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Your reflection called to mind these words from C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory:

    There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

  • Reply wendy lane January 28, 2017 at 2:55 am

    I love “weathered imperfection”!! So thankful for all who know me and love me anyway. Especially my Sweetheart who knows me best and amazingly loves me most. <3

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