Gift from the Sea
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Pantheon Books, 1997, 1955
From the back of the book, “A modern-day classic here are Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s elegant and wise meditations on youth and age, love and marriage, solitude, peace, and contentment, as she set the down during a brief vacation by the ocean. She helps us see ways to reconcile our most deeply personal needs with obligations to family, friends, lovers, and work, ways to separate loneliness from replenishing solitude, and ways to find solace in the simplest of daily tasks. Now more than ever, Gift from the Sea serves as a spiritual compass guiding us toward inner tranquility in the face of life’s deeper questions.”
I loved this book. It is going on my wish list to add to my library. There is so much nourishment contained within its pages that it deserves – no, demands – to be read once a year. This one reading only scratched the surface if the treasure within. I read it slowly – had to renew it once at the library – as to savor the words and lessons. And there are lessons to be learned and applied to my life. Lessons that are just as meaningful today as the time in which they were originally written. First published in 1955, her insight into the world and its foibles is just as apropos today as it was then. This quote is timely despite its age:
“The inter-relatedness of the world links us constantly with more people than our hearts can hold. Or rather—for I believe the heart is infinite—modern communications loads us with more problems than the human frame can carry. It is good, I think, for our hearts, our minds, our imaginations to be stretched; but body, nerve, endurance and life-span are not as elastic. My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds. I cannot marry all of them, or bear them all as children, or care for them all as I would my parents in illness or old age. Our grandmothers, and even—with some scrambling—our mothers, lived in a circle small enough to let them implement in action most of the impulses of their hearts and minds. We were brought up in a tradition that has now become impossible, for we have extended our circle throughout space and time.”
I love the way the author writes – it is quiet, lyrical, and soothing. Like a cup of cool water on a hot day or a mug of hot chocolate on a cold night.
“The sea does no reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”
Of interest: Anne Morrow Lindbergh was the wife of Charles Lindbergh, of flying solo across the Atlantic fame and mother of the infamous kidnapping and subsequent murder of her son, Charles Lindbergh, Jr.