He could not tell this child with the glowing eyes that there had been a mistake; he would take her home and let Marilla do that.p. 15
Passing the buck. We could chalk this up as a slightly humorous bit of cowardice on Matthew’s part. But it highlights something else about human nature: we are less likely to cast off what we come to know in flesh and blood. Matthew, upon experiencing the personality that was Anne, could put off on Marilla what Marilla hadn’t seen.
But then Marilla did see—and softened. At first out of fear of what Anne would become with Mrs. Blewitt, then out of a sense of duty (and being worn down by Matthew). But in the face of flesh and blood and with time to build a relationship, the “mistake” becomes the beginning of a life whose impact is incalculable and will play out over seven more novels.
The importance of flesh and blood. Why are we so quick to vilify one another? Because all we know of each other any more is a virtual other. I can run down the politician, the pundit, the preacher, the poor, and the pampered because they are not real people—at least not to me. I don’t know them as flesh and blood.
But there’s a larger problem. When I build up so much hate in the virtual world, it can’t help spilling over into the real world. My hate goes with me and interacts with flesh and blood. It puts up barriers; it fails to listen. It never lets flesh and blood have an impact as it should. I don’t give it any chance to soften. I don’t see a person; I see a position. I’ve decided already what they’re like because I’ve seen what someone like that is like on-line.
That does not mean we must always be willing to change our position. It does mean we must always be willing to love.