When I won Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea from Barb at A Chelsea Morning, I had no idea what a treasure it would be. It presented so many challenges to me as a person, as a woman, as a mom, as a child of God.
Who would have thought that a book written 50 years ago regarding one woman’s discoveries among the shells would be so apropos today? Although she wrote this book for her own dealings with life, her words touch deep the soul of any woman, no matter her stage of life. That a middle-aged woman in the 50’s could strike a chord with women of every stage of life shows what a talent Lindbergh really was.
Lindbergh’s timeless eloquence was laced with intellectual candor, profound insights and pools of concern and compassion that ran the depth of her soul. She touched on several issues that she struggled with in her lifetime: busy-ness or multiplicity, losing self in the giving to others, having peace in solitude, relationships, marriage, empty nests, contentment. Seeing life through the treasures of her found shells, Lindbergh correlated the discoveries to her daily life, reminding herself to treasure them to the fullest.
Excerpts from Gift From The Sea:
“The world today does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone.” – Chapter 3
“But it is the marriage relationship in which the changing pattern is shown up most clearly because it is the deepest one and the most arduous to maintain; and because, somehow, we mistakenly feel that failure to maintain its exact original pattern is a tragedy.” – Chapter 4
“(In the middle years of marriage) the bonds of marriage are formed. For marriage, which is always spoken of as a bond, becomes actually, in this stage, many bonds, many strands, of different texture and strength, making up a web that is taut and firm. The web is fashioned of love. Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic love first, then a slow-growing devotion and, playing through these, a constant rippling companionship. It is made of loyalties, and interdependencies, and shared experiences. It is woven of memories of meetings and conflicts; of triumphs and disappointments. It is a web of communication, a common language too; a knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions, both physical and mental. It is a web of instincts and intuitions, and known and unknown exchanges. The web of marriage is made by propinquity, in the day-to-day6 living side by side, looking outward and working outward in the same direction. It is woven in space and in tome of the substance of life itself.” – Chapter 5
“Woman must come of age by herself. This is the essence of “coming of age” – to learn to stand alone. She must learn not to depend on another, not to feel she must prove her strength by competing with another.” – Chapter 6
“For relationships too must be like islands. One must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the se, continually visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the security of the wingèd life, of ebb and flow, of intermittency.” – Chapter 6
With so much to be gleaned from this hidden treasure, I can see why Barb reads it faithfully every year. We forget too often how to live life; it’s nice to have a gentle reminder nudging us to look back towards our Creator, to see the beauty that surrounds us in the here and now and to live with a content heart. I, too, will be picking this book up again and again in the years to come.