Oh Miss. Bates. Often we see her in Emma films or when we encounter her in the story we ignore her:
Find her annoying:
Or pity her:
But then something stood out to me this time I read it that made me wonder…
Maybe WE have always approached this character the wrong way and we should actually strive to BE her.
So let’s start at the beginning.
Miss Bates was the daughter of a vicar, he having passed on and left the family in an improvised state.
She isn’t known to be intelligent, witty, or wise.
She wasn’t considered beautiful when she was young and isn’t seen as such now,
She never was courted, engaged, or married.
Her youth passed by with no distinction.
She now is middle-aged and spends all her time taking care of her elderly mother.
And she spends most of her time trying to stretch her dollars as far as they can go.
Yes, life seems to be pretty grim.
So why should we want to be like her?
Because, despite ALL this, despite her life and circumstances, this is how she is:
“And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good-will[sic].”
And where does this happiness come from? How does she have such pleasant emotion in such a bleak situation?
“It was her own universal good-will[sic] and contented temper which worked such wonders.”
Yes, her happiness isn’t derived from objects, money, people, beauty, etc. She is happy because she wants to be happy…
And because she can find pleasure in everything.
“She loved everybody, was interested in everyone’s happiness, quicksighted[sic] to every body’s merits: thought herself a most fortunate creature, and surrounded with blessings in such an excellent mother, and so many good neighbors and friends, and a home that wanted for nothing.”
Yes, most of us would be complaining, grumbling, whining, or disgusted to have her life…
But that isn’t how Miss Bates react. Instead she is joyful in everything and thankful for all she has in her life, even though most would view it as nothing. She reminds me of the green onion girl from Veggietales. Always joyful in everything.
And because of her joyful spirit she finds herself enjoying “a most uncommon degree of popularity.”
And that’s why I believe we should strive to be like her. How much nicer would life be if we learn to love what we have? If we tried to be kind and compassionate to all? If we looked at the good in others and our life instead of focusing on the negative?
For more on Miss Bates, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen
For more Emma, go to When You Shockingly Relate to Mr. Woodhouse
For more Cristina Garcia quotes, go to Optimum Image
For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty
For more L.M. Montgomery quotes, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables
For more bible verses, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man
For more Steve Maraboli quotes, go to The Final Chapter