A House by the Road

“I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand.” This sometimes misattributed quote seems to have its origins in this quote from Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky’s The Brother Karamazov

“I love humanity . . . but I can’t help being surprised at myself: the more I love humanity in general, the less I love men in particular, I mean, separately, as separate individuals. In my dreams . . . I am very often passionately determined to save humanity, and I might quite likely have sacrificed my life for my fellow-creatures, if for some reason it has been suddenly demanded of me, and yet I’m quite incapable of living with anyone in one room for two days together, and I know that from experience. As soon as anyone comes close to me, his personality begins to oppress my vanity and restrict my freedom. I’m capable of hating the best men in twenty-four hours: one because he sits too long over his dinner, another because he has a cold in the head and keeps blowing his nose. But, on the other hand, it invariably happened that the more I hated men individually, the more ardent became my love for humanity at large.”

Not having read the book, the context for this quote is unknown to me, but I think the sentiment is relatable. We withdraw from some people because we find them unlovely and yet still desperately search out other people with a breathless optimism that we yet may find folk who are lovely. Sometimes this reeks of selfishness and a failure to embrace God’s invitation to turn to Him in our hunger and be satisfied and other times it may be the intrinsic longing for true goodness that has been with us from the beginning—the thing that makes us wonder if we have been made for more than we currently know or experience.


An evening was spent together with a couple friends. It was a most delightful time, I greatly enjoyed them, I felt greatly enjoyed. Their dining room became a space- to wonder together about the things we think, to think together about the things we wonder, to wander together about in our wonderings, and to wonder together at our wanderings(some together and some apart).

This particular friendship is older than many others, It has had its ups and downs but it has grown. It started with common roots, and as we discovered similar interests it continued to grow. This isn't uncommon of course. Most normal human beings begin life surrounded those of similar roots and may or may not not end up calling those people good friends after 30 years. Several months ago another of my very good friends recently wished me a happy anniversary.


Enter your email to subscribe to updates.