When someone in a novel utters a sentence that I myself have thought, or even one that has spilled from my lips, the connection between the two of us is strong.
Even more so if that sentence is one that has been shouted, sung, recited and groaned by individuals for centuries.
In Part One Chapter 15 after Kitty has turned down Levin’s proposal, yet is no closer to securing one with Vronsky, she returns to her room confused, conflicted, and questioning her decision.
. . . her happiness was troubled with misgivings. ‘Lord, have mercy on us; Lord, have mercy on us; Lord, have mercy on us!’
At the end of the chapter her parents have a little spat over the same two men, and although it’s difficult to sympathize with her Vronsky-loving mother, when she fell into bed riddled with concern for her daughter and uttering the same triple plea my heart melded with her own.
. . . she thought with terror of what the future might have in store, and, just as Kitty had done, repeated several times in her heart, ‘Lord, have mercy on us; Lord, have mercy on us; Lord, have mercy on us!
It doesn’t matter if you’re a tax collector, a love-addled girl, a meddling mother, or an exhausted classics reader, this Trinitarian call for help knows no boundaries. Although each of us is separated by time, geography, and even fictionalization, we are united by the common use of words, although the words are anything but common.
You see, words connect us. Especially when they’re not our words, but the Word.