14 October 2007

The Wisdom of Anne

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.

6 comments:

Joan said...

Amen, sister! I've been re-reading the series recently myself. I've never had red hair, but I can certainly imagine what is feels like. And I was definitely a misfit who read too much at that age, as well. I love Anne. I recently re-watched the Wonder Works videos (yes, I still have them on VHS), too. How thrilling to find another kindred spirit! And try to remember you may be overworked and you may feel neglected, but you are definitely loved by both family and friends. Hugs! :)

Sherrie said...

Thanks Joan!

Kindred spirits are out there; it's good to know I have another one close by.

It's just been really trying here lately, all work-related. And we're busy with school x 4 and work and oy, it never ends.

I loved those videos, even though they played fast and loose with the books. I wonder if I can still buy them somewhere . . . my girls might like it. Anything is a good break from Thomas, VeggieTales and SpongeBob lately.

Gina said...

Sherrie:

You can definitely buy the videos. I ordered my DVDs from Canada a couple of years ago, but they're now available on Amazon.com. I have a set, my brother has a set, my parents have a set...we all love it.

Hang in there, and remember: "True friends are always together in spirit."

(*hugs*)

Joan said...

The movies are available at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/268cj2

I've been thinking about replacing mine for a while - the videos are bulky and well-worn. I will admit, though, I never knew about the third one until I looked it up. Judging by the description, I'm not sure I'd be interested in seeing it, since it seems only to retain the characters without the real story.

I had viewed the first two movies before reading the entire series, so I still love both even after realizing the movies take a lot of creative license. The second one is "bad" enough - dunno if I could take the third.

Gina said...

Joan (and Sherrie):

Heads up: The third movie is...um...bad. I won't be buying a copy of it. Nor do I care to watch it again.

CISSY said...

Sherrie: Thanks. Your post reminded me that it's been a long while since I sat down and read or reread books I loved. It's been a long time since I blogged, been a long time since I just did stuff that was just for me. That said, it's early morning and I just emailed my boss and told him I was taking a "me" day after working two weekends (and working this coming weekend) without any time off. Sometimes, you have to focus on yourself, family -- thanks for reminding me!