Not too long ago, my little hurricanes and I watched my long lost videos of “Anne of Green Gables”. My older kids and I would often have AGG marathons. I thought they liked them like I did; however, I’ve learned otherwise.
There is something in me, deep down, that resonates with this wonderful mini-series from the ’80’s. I don’t know if it’s the luscious cinematography of Prince Edward Island, or the cute and innocent love story of Anne and Gilbert or even Anne’s transformation from a precocious girl to an accomplished young lady. Probably all three. But I think what I like the most is the character of Matthew Cuthbert and his relationship with Anne. What a kind soul! This shy, unassuming man is bowled over by the red-headed firecracker. His love permeates the entire first series of “Anne of Green Gables”. Richard Farnsworth will always be Matthew Cuthbert.
Here are a few quotes from Matthew’s “gospel”:
“You can talk all you like, I don’t mind.”
Matthew loved Anne from the get go. Anne’s nervous non-stop talking in the carriage home from the train station absolutely enchanted Matthew. His love for her emboldened him to stand up to his strong-willed sister and insist Anne stay. It is a wonderful gift when we have folks like Matthew in our lives.
Isn’t a pleasure when we meet someone who just listens to us, who is truly interested in what we have to say, even if it’s things we’ve talked about over and over again. When I was going through a sad divorce, and I thought I would never get through the emotional devastation, there were a couple of folks who would listen over and over again; always encouraging me, always listening when I know they had other things to do. Often, I fall short of this quality, but I am trying to be more attentive to what someone is saying rather than in crafting a response.
“We might be of some good to her.”
This is his answer to Merilla’s pronouncement that Anne would be of no use to them. This sweet, old bachelor persuades his spinster sister in keeping orphan Anne despite her not being a boy. Over time his sweetness rubs off on Merilla as when Anne leaves for school and the train pulls away, “He knew we needed her.” Kindness and tenderness as exhibited in this character cannot help but produce good in and to its recipients. Even amidst the turbulence of teenage tumults of child rearing, a little shot of kindness and consideration helps still the stormy seas.
“I never wanted a boy. I only wanted you from the first day. Don’t ever change. I love my little girl. I’m so proud of my little girl.”
Matthew utters these last poignant words to the weeping Anne as he slowly dies in her arms. He loved her from the beginning. What a blessing and comfort for Anne in her subsequent grief. We have the power in our words to bless, even in difficult situations. But it’s not just his loving blessing to Anne, but his expression of absolute unconditional love and affection to her. He never regretted having her in his life. One of my favorite verses from Luke, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” seems to embody in this affirmation of love by Matthew to Anne. Our Father in heaven gladly gives us the kingdom, is happy we have responded to him. He has only wanted us from the first day.
“Anne of Green Gables” has not only given us a great story set against a beautiful back-drop, but also has given us wonderful characters, the whippersnapper Anne, the beloved Gil, the stern Merilla and my favorite, the winsome, kind-hearted Matthew. I hope we all memorize these words of Matthew, plant them into our hearts and pour forth their fruit to our family and friends.