7 August 2014
“Miss Barry was a kindred spirit, after all … You wouldn’t think so to look at her, but she is. You don’t find it right out at first … but after a while you come to see it. Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
These are the words of Anne of Green Gables. She was always on the look-out for kindred spirits – people with whom you have much in common regardless of age, gender, race or nationality. I have a set of Anne books that belonged to my mother and occasionally I get one out and read a few pages. I was cheered to read again that there are “so many of them in the world”. I have quite a few kindred spirits of my own out there but, so far, have not met any here in Ipoh.
The reasons we get on well with some people and not others are difficult to define. One of my kindred spirits is 80 years old and lives on another continent. We hardly ever see each other but, when we do, we pick up where we left off. You don’t necessarily have to agree on those hoary old topics politics, religion and money (although it would be difficult for me to feel that a fascist was a kindred spirit!). But you do have to share an outlook on life, which, in my case, includes things like: a curiosity about why things are the way they are and what we think we can do to improve them; a liking for the arts that make life interesting – books, music, paintings, movies, dance – though agreeing on particular artists does not matter; empathy for those less fortunate and an active dislike of bullies; and many other even less tangible qualities.
With all that vagueness it’s a wonder that we meet any kindred spirits at all! Nevertheless, like Anne, I am always on the look-out, even if I “don’t find it right out at first”.