Anne Morrow Lindbergh is my BFF. I’ve never met her personally and she’s no longer living, but I know if our paths had crossed, we would have been kindred spirits. She was the wife of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, author of several books, and mother to six children, one of which was kidnapped and murdered. I stumbled across her published diaries in a library years ago and our friendship began. Anne and I wouldn’t have agreed on everything; her marriage wasn’t perfect, her life wasn’t without heartache, her views on God and spirituality would have made for some intense conversation between us. But she bared her soul in her journals and wrote so beautifully about her desire to find balance.
Her book “Gift From the Sea” was published in 1955. I take it off the shelf every few years, just to stop by for a visit with my interesting and thoughtful friend who was trying to figure out how to juggle being a wife, mother, artist and citizen. She wrote about the different stages of a woman’s life, so every time I re-read this book, I find something new to appreciate because I’m in a new stage myself.
“But I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints – to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible.”
On marriage: “A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but swift and free…. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand; only the barest touch in passing. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back – it does not matter which. Because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it.”
On children growing up and leaving home: “A most uncomfortable stage followed, not sufficiently anticipated…Plenty of solitude, and a sudden panic at how to fill it…With me, it was not a question of simply filling up the space or the time. I had many activities and even a well-established vocation to pursue. But when a mother is left, the lone hub of a wheel, with no other lives revolving about her, she faces a total re-orientation. It takes time to re-find the center of gravity.”
To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one. ~Chinese Saying