Don’t we all love to get lost in a great book? I’m still old school, preferring to hold the pages in my hands, but my latest obsession with the iPad has me rethinking that habit, especially the convenience of a lighted screen at night after Matt falls asleep (since my favorite thing to do before I fall asleep is read!!)
I struggled with what book to write about today, then turned to the classic that sits on my bookshelf – what I call my “vacation” book – the one I like to tote along with me when I take a few days off. But of course! Have you read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea ? The author was a mother of five and the wife of the famous Charles Lindbergh, she also became a pilot herself and led quite an adventurous life. The book was originally published back in 1955, but I’m still amazed at how the author’s reflections ring true today!
I discovered this book ten years ago in a little beach boutique in San Diego, and it had such an impact on me, I try to reread it every year. Lindbergh gives a thoughtful perspective that reflects on the often overwhelming commitments and everyday demands placed on women in the modern home. The most interesting parts are her analogies of life’s complex issues and relationships to shells found along the beach, an association I’d never make on my own but done so articulately in the 120 pages.
It was written while Anne took a beach vacation alone and away from her family. The book pulls you to a quiet place, insisting you exist as you read it as if part of the rhythmic tide of the ocean. I love her perspective on the ‘circus act’ women perform in our everyday lives, between children, keeping up the household, our work, and our volunteer efforts. It places real value on moments spent alone in order to feed the soul, and the importance of time spent resisting the pressures of the world and being inwardly attentive. It analyzes our female instinct to give of ourselves to others, but how necessary it is to take moments for ourselves so we can give with purpose. It offers reflections on marriage and sister relationships that are heartfelt, poignant, and meaningful.
There are so many quotes in the book that I love, here are three I underlined:
“I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest. I find I am shedding the hypocrisy in human relationships… the most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.” (Chapter 2) Do you/we waste too much time invested in false relationships?
“I believe that true identity is found by going into one’s own ground and knowing oneself. It is found in creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself. Woman can best refind herself by losing herself in some kind of creative activity of her own.” (Chapter 4) Yes, yes, how true that fulfillment often comes from tapping into our creativity!
“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect at few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.” (Chapter 7) Just like we should not collect too many material possessions in our homes… the focus should be keeping it simple and meaningful.
If you haven’t read it, I recommend picking it up, especially for the next time you take a few days off. For all those who’ve read it, what did you love about Gift From The Sea?
Time to share your latest book – link up your reviews!