Non-Anxious Presence

I like this bit from Helene Tursten’s The Glass Devil (2003):

“Bengt Maardh’s face bore a troubled expression as he seated himself in the visitor’s chair. He folded his hands and rested his elbows on the armrests while his serious gaze focused on Irene. Again she felt that a priest was here to console her, as if she was the one who needed comforting. The feeling was absurd, yet it was there. Maybe it was evoked by his sympathetic brown eyes behind frameless glasses.

“Then it struck her that she was simply being exposed to a basic tool of his profession. This was the way Bengt Maardh had learned to act in times of grief: He displayed compassion. It probably worked with a person who actually needed it, not least with women. And who doesn’t need compassion nowadays? Our need for comfort is immeasurable.”

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