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Perspective: Watching other people, there's so much I do not see

Ryan Stefan

Sometimes I look at people and wonder about their story.

I assess them too quickly and make mental notes that feel like facts. But I learned long ago I do not know their story. The full story. The real story. And ... I never will.

"All of my favorite people have been wounded."

The man who said that is artist Will Kautz, writing about the loss of his son, Justin, at age 25. His son used to write down meaningful quotes in a journal and he found one that explained why his son often liked to say, "Live everything."

The quote was from poet-novelist Rainer Maria Rilke who said: “You are so young, so before all beginning, I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.

"Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Kautz concluded, "The most beautiful and redemptive lessons in life are delivered to us through pain. ... I’ve also noticed that all of my favorite people have been wounded. They have all been made tender and alluring because their souls experienced trauma."

There it is. That common denominator we all share. It's something I cannot forget ... when I'm busy judging others.

I’m Lonny Cain and that’s my Perspective.

Lonny Cain, a graduate of the journalism program at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, has been in the newspaper business for more than 45 years. He and his wife have three sons. They live in Ottawa, where he was managing editor of the local daily newspaper for 30 years, retiring in December 2014. He continues to be a columnist for The Times in Ottawa and is pursuing other writing projects.