I have a birthday before a big birthday coming up in a couple weeks. I am not actually one those people who doesn't like to age or admit their age so I will tell you, I will be 39. I am looking forward to being 40, I love the wisdom of experience that comes with age. You couldn't get me back into my 20's for anything. I have been contemplating a post on my life to go with my pre-big birthday so I won't say too much on this subject but I have been doing some reading lately that is sort of related to life, aging and the experiences that go with it.
I recently re-read Anne of Green Gables. I have been excited to read it with Isabelle, somehow the book came up recently and so I pulled it out. She let me read about 2 chapters before she told me to stop and wanted to move on with her life. Of course I was hooked and had to read the whole thing.
It was probably my favorite book of childhood. I loved reading it and imaging I was Anne. I always wished to have her creative, romantic imagination and the energy to go out and do all those crazy things she came up with. I wished I was smart and driven like she was. I wished for a best bosom friend like Diana. I wished there was a boy crazy about me for years even after I treated him terribly. And I have always loved the idea of the simpler time of life that Anne grew up in.
I also always thought that Marilla and most of the other grown-ups in the story were up-tight old ladies that did not get Anne or appreciate her. Then I read it again as an adult, an adult with my own adopted child whom I adore. And suddenly I am in love with Marilla. This time through she was a woman of compassion who deeply loved this little girl who had come into her life but struggled to know how to show it. She wanted more than anything to help her grow into a beautiful God honoring woman capable of becoming anything she wanted to be. She was full of pride over Anne's accomplishments but tried not to be prideful about them.
When I was younger I thought Marilla was too hard on "poor Anne" but as a mother I see how necessary and important the discipline was. I even gleaned a little nugget for my own parenting--Anne had let her imagination run a little too wild and created a made up story that a wooded area between her house and Diana's house was haunted. Although she had run through many times in the dark suddenly she was terrified to go into the woods because of her own made up stories. Marilla made her go through alone as punishment and it was a lesson well learned in controlling her imagination--Seems like there is a lesson in there both for me as I might want to let my imagination run a little wild even as an adult and, as a parent in disciplining my child with the natural consequences of her actions.
One thing about the book did not change for me. The most profound part of the book, to me, is toward the end and throughout my life I have thought of it often. Anne says, "When I left Queen's (school) my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes--what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows--what new landscapes--what new beauties--what curves and hills and valleys further on."
Throughout my life as I have encountered many a bend in the road I have thought of Anne and her bend and her typical optimistic view that something wonderful was before her and I could continue on the path God had set before me with expectation and wonder rather than fear and dread.
Right now my life seems like Anne's did before Matthew's death, "stretched out before me like a straight road". But experience tells me that there is a bend ahead. A bend that will come at an unexpected time or in an unexpected way and once again completely change the course of our lives. Africa was a bit of a bend in our road and has definitely changed us in both big and small ways. Infertility was a huge sharp bend in the road. Homeschooling, adoption, getting married young, career changes...so many twist and turns in our life so far, so many more to come. Throughout them all I look for the "facination" in the road and "wonder how the road beyond goes".
What does the road before you look like right now? Stretched out like a straight road or have you come to a bend?