05 December 2010

birthdays and a sharp tongue

I realized that I've been writing about Christmas a lot recently—well, 'tis the season and all that.

However, I'm taking a break from Christmas today, and instead going on a little literary diversion.

Did you know that LM Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott's birthdays were last week?


Well, I didn't, either. Then Twitter, that source of knowledge and wasted time, taught me something. Louisa's was November 29 and LM's was November 30.

I should've had a party, and I am, I must say, slightly disappointed that I missed a chance to have a literary nerdy party.

Next year. There's always next year. I'll start planning my costume now. You should, too.

As if wanting to further cement this LM and Louisa connection—and their separate but similar effects on my life—someone got to my blog by searching "little women and anne of green gables similarities."

Google sent them here, and while yes, I have written a little about both Jo and Anne, I like to think of it this way: Google knows that I am the embodiment of both Jo and Anne. The search results prove it, people. What do Little Women and Anne of Green Gables have in common? ME.

To celebrate—belatedly—I'm offering an excerpt from Little Women, one that has been particularly helpful to me today.

Jo, Anne, and I have this in common: Wayward tongues. Sharp tones. Tempers.

We have the ability to slice with our words and the knowledge that we can cut people down with well-placed verbs.

But we also share an earnest desire to control the sharpness. To use our words to build others up or to make them laugh. To be practiced in the art of thinking before we speak.

When I have days when my tongue has been sharper than a doubled-edged sword {and not in the Word of God way}, that's when I need to turn to Marilla or Marmee. I need to read, in tough love language, that this will be a life-long challenge—this learning to rein in my words—but that it is worth it. That other people struggle with this. That every time you speak harshly, that is an opportunity to speak kindly in apology—to carefully consider those words so that you can suture up the wound you caused in a friendship or relationship.

I spoke out of turn today, but I know that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it {there's my tribute to Anne}. And I need to read again what Marmee says to Jo about controlling her tongue.


"It's my dreadful temper! I try to cure it; I think I have, and then it breaks out worse than ever. Oh, mother, what shall I do? What shall I do?" cried poor Jo, in despair.

"Watch and pray, dear; never get tired of trying; and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault," said Mrs. March, kissing the wet cheek so tenderly that Jo cried harder than ever.

"You don't know, and you can't guess how bad it is! It seems as if I could do anything when I'm in a passion; I get so savage, I could hurt anyone, and enjoy it. I'm afraid I shall do something dreadful someday, and spoil my life, and make everybody hate me. Oh, mother, help me, do help me!"

"I will, my child, I will. Don't cry so bitterly, but remember this day, and resolve, with all your soul, that you will never know another like it. Jo, dear, we all have our temptations, some far greater than yours, and it often takes us all our lives to conquer them...."

1 comment:

  1. Doesn't Marmee almost seem too perfect to you to really exist?



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