“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
I love this quote from the iconic Anne Shirley. Montgomery’s redheaded heroine is an icon of Canadian culture and a constant reminder that our differences are the gateway to discovering what we have in common.
Anne, in her journey of maturation, realizes that kindred spirits are found in the unlikeliest of places–in the unlikeliest of people.
Matthew, Miss Josephine Barry, and even Mrs. Rachel Lynde are all very different from Anne, and yet, their differences provide the foundation for transformative dialogues that extend the scope of Anne’s life, as well as their own.
You see, when we use our imaginations to bridge the gap between our experiences and those of others–when we actively seek to empathize with their situations–we find ourselves navigating the exciting adventure of personal growth.
We find ourselves looking beyond the social and cultural barriers that divide us as we search for genuine connections with other human beings.
In the process, we form beautiful relationships that remind us of all the good there is to be found in the world. We are reminded that when we view each other through eyes of compassion, understanding and respect we see possibilities for friendship with those who are different from ourselves.
I love that.
It’s reassuring to know that when we have the imagination to see the world for its possibilities we have the grace to accept our flaws and those of the people we meet. We can recognize mistakes as opportunities for change–as new beginnings–the chance to be brave, whether that bravery comes in the form of delivering an apology or accepting it.
To me, Anne is brave because she has the courage to imagine those possibilities in the people she meets. She doesn’t get it right all of the time. She openly messes up at various moments. Still, throughout her story she becomes better and better at admitting when she is wrong and embracing the opportunity to do what is right.
I think that’s why Montgomery’s novel continues to speak to so many people.
At least, that’s one of the reasons why it continues to speak to me.
As Anne shows us, the path of progress is an adventurous one, full of victories and setbacks. The journey, however, is enjoyable when we realize how blessed we are to share it with such amazing people.
I hope that we all have the pleasure of discovering a kindred spirit in an unlikely person today. More than that, I hope that we each have the opportunity to be one for someone else!
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