One of my dear friends, John M, gave me a copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book, Gift from the Sea back in 1996. He inscribed it with these words, “To Lisa: This is a book I believe all women should read. Merry Christmas!”
He was so right, all women ~ and men ~ should read and own a copy of this book. It’s one of my favorite. I packed it for my trip knowing I’d want to read it once again.
Ms. Lindbergh, please forgive me for using your words, but they so perfectly mirror my thoughts today:
“I began these pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular patterns of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships. And since I think best with a pencil in my hand, I started naturally to write. I had the feeling, when the thoughts first clarified on paper, that my experience was very different from other people’s. (Are we all under this illusion?) My situation had, in certain ways, more freedom than that of most people, and in certain ways, much less.
“Besides, I thought, not all women are searching for a new pattern of living, or want a contemplative corner of their own. Many women are content with their lives as they are. They manage amazingly well, far better than I, it seemed to me, looking a their lives from the outside. With envy and admiration, I observed the porcelain perfection of their smoothly ticking days. Perhaps they had no problems, or had found the answer long ago. No, I decided, these discussions would have value and interest only for myself.
“But as I went on writing and simultaneously talking with other women young and old, with different lives and experiences – those who supported themselves, those who wished careers, those who were hard-working housewives and mothers, and those with more ease – I found that my point of view was not unique. In varying settings and under different forms, I discovered that any women, and men, too, were grappling with essentially the same questions as I, and were hungry to discuss and argue and hammer our possible answers. Even those whose lives had appeared to be ticking imperturbably under their smiling clock-faces were often trying, like me, to evolve another rhythm with more creative pauses in it, more adjustment to their individual needs, and new and more alive relationships to themselves as well as others.”
+ + + + + + + + + Ms. Lindbergh goes on to describe her time each year at the sea as a time of discovery, solitude, and rejuvenation. Whether it be at the beach, on the streets of New York, or in your own garden, we all need to take time away from our obligations to family, friends, and work to replenish ourselves, bringing us inner tranquility and peace. I’ve been blessed in this journey to hear from many of you who are struggling either financially or in relationships. Some of you are struggling with diseases, others with jobs. I appreciate your sharing – it’s been a gift to me. Thank you.
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (c) 1983. Published by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc.