Anne-with-an-E, Anne of Green Gables.
Whenever I get downright depressed, demoralized, and discouraged, I pull out my Anne of Green Gables novels. In this latest re-reading, I'm amazed at how true so much of what L.M. Montgomery wrote a century ago is.
When I was 12, I was the red-headed misfit who daydreamed too much. I never read the other novels at that time (and just as well, because I wasn't emotionally ready or mature enough for them). But Anne spoke to me. I was a "kindred spirit."
When I was in high school, I discovered the other novels. One of my college roommates and I read those books again and again. We sobbed when Ruby Gillis died a horrid death. We felt Anne's agony of knowing Gilbert cared too much, and then died a death with her when she learned that she really did love him.
When I lost my first child to miscarriage, I wept when I re-read the chapter where Anne and Gilbert lost their little Joyce.
Now, re-reading again (and sobbing again when Ruby Gillis died, which convinced my eldest that her mom really is nuts), I'm amazed at how well Montgomery knew human nature and how well she portrayed love and marriage. In Anne of Ingleside, the final chapters are focused on an Anne my age, who is feeling neglected, overworked, and unloved.
Everything ends up all right between Anne and Gilbert, but the overall message -- that we mustn't become so self-centered that we forget our loved ones have weighy things on their shoulders, too, and that we should care for ourselves, and not just our houses, our children, and our careers -- just brought tears to my eyes.
That passage spoke to my heart. I feel that way now. And the fact that women a century ago had those same feelings just makes me realize it is natural. We must take a break to feed our souls.
I've been doing that this weekend. Fall break is this week. Two of my grad classes are cancelled. I put things (like housework and writing) on hold, to take time for me, for my children, and for my husband.
Anne (and L.M.M.) is wise. I'm taking a century's worth of wisdom to heart.