Book Babble: Gift from the Sea


I am starting a regular segment for this blog, Book Babble. I am a bibliophile to the core of my being. I am a regular Rory Gilmore, and I very rarely leave my house without a book in hand (or at least one downloaded onto the nook app which can be accessed from my phone or tablet). Although I do occasionally enjoy some works of fiction, I tend to gravitate towards Christian living, poetry, and memoirs anymore. I read a lot for perspective (vs. entertainment) so I like something that is encouraging and relatable. When I do choose fiction, Austen, Bronte, and Rowling are among my most beloved story tellers <3 I do plan on working my way back through some of the classics that I never understood or cared about in high school...eventually. Maybe. We’ll see :)


One of my current reads (I truly wish I could stick with one book at a time but I have some serious ADD here) is Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I actually just did a little background check on her (thank you Wikipedia!) and she led a very interesting life. She was married to the aviator, Charles Lindbergh. And mother to Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr., the victim of the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping. I really like her writing style, being very poetic in nature. She brings up some good insights that she gained from her little pilgrimages to the beach.


It’s a little ironic, or maybe just the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side. But, Anne talks about experiencing a lot of the same things that I feel now, over 60 years later. I often think that only if I could have lived out my days in the 50’s. Women were allowed to focus on the home. Homemaking was an honorable profession. She was the core in which the family found their stability. And now, post new millennium, women have little choice but to work a crazy 40+ hour work week on top of the need (and I believe desire) to make their house a home. Oh, and they are also expected to stay sane during all of this. (jumping off of pedestal for the time being). But according to Anne, women felt just as much discontentment back then as they do now.


Let me just share a kind-of lengthy passage that really spoke to me in the book: (Full disclaimer, she mentions women specifically but I believe that some of these things can resonate with men as well)
“All her instinct as a woman-the eternal nourisher of children, of men, of society-demands that she give. Her time, her energy, her creativeness drain into these channels if there is any chance, any leak. Traditionally we are taught, and instinctively we long, to give where it is needed- and immediately. Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim.
But why not, one may ask? What is wrong with woman’s spilling herself away, since it is her function to give? Why am I, coming back from my perfect day at the beach, so afraid of losing my treasure? It is not just the artist in me. The artist, naturally, always resents giving himself in small drops. He must save up for the pitcher full. No, it is also the woman in me who is so unexpectedly miserly.
Here is a strange paradox. Woman instinctively wants to give, yet resents giving herself in small pieces. Basically is this a conflict? Or is it an over-simplification of a many-stranded problem? I believe that what woman resents is not so much giving herself in pieces as giving herself puposelessly. [insert my heavy sigh]. What we fear is not so much that our energy may be leaking away through small outlets as that it may be going ‘down the drain.’ ”


And one more passage:


“This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul. And this is not only true of my life, I am forced to conclude; it is the life of millions of women in America. I stress America, because today, the American woman more than any other has the privilege of choosing such a life. Woman in large parts of civilized world has been forced back by war, by poverty, by collapse, by the sheer struggle to survive, into a smaller circle of immediate time and space, immediate family life, immediate problems of existence. The American woman is still relatively free to choose the wider life. How long she will hold this enviable and precarious position no one knows. But her particular situation has a significance far above its apparent economic, national or even sex limitations.
For the problem of the multiplicity of life not only confronts the American woman, but also the American man.”


And anymore, this is how I feel at the end of most days: fragmented, drained, and without purpose. Sometimes, when I have the chance to slow down and actually think, I feel like I don’t even know myself. I feel like an outsider looking in. I think a lot that is due in part to my struggle between my flesh and His Kingdom. I try and define and box my being into some tiny, made up form of myself. All of the things that I aspire “to be” are good within themselves. But are they really accomplishing what God created me specifically for?  It’s like I look at what I WANT and then try to throw a little “Glory for God” in the midst of it.


In a text today, my dad asked me how/what I was doing and part of my response was “No rest for the wicked!” and he responded (with what I believe to be a CS Lewis quote) “No rest for the wicked and the righteous don’t need any.”


I got to thinking about what that meant. Maybe to be righteous, walking in sync with God, you are seeking and following His path for your life. Leaving everything else in their proper place (even the seemingly good). If you are doing, and only doing, what God called you to do, that means that He is equipping you with what you need. And sometimes you have to forsake doing some of the good things that aren’t necessarily part of His plan in order to say yes to a time of rest, meditation, mental preparation for the truly important things. (1 Cor 10:23: “ ‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say-but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to anything’-but not everything is constructive.’ ”)

I am saying all of this but also feeling a little resentment towards this truth at the present moment! You mean I can’t sew and read books all day, everyday? Nope. Because I get too hyperfocused on these sort of things and everything (literally) everything else that I have to do almost seems like an impediment. No, I should not give these things up, because spending some time pursuing creative endeavors or inhaling a book is part of who I am, the way God created me. But I have to learn how to keep everything in balance. Being a light, and pursuing patience with my co-workers in the midst of a chaotic work environment is also part of what God created me to be. Taking an evening to plan/discuss the direction of youth group is also what I must do. Keeping a house that is clean and organized enough to keep our sanity levels at bay is pretty vital to what I am as well. No, these things are never my idea of “fun” but they must be done. They are just as much Kingdom work as the rest of it is.


2 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to read that book! And I love everything you said here. I completely agree :)

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    Replies
    1. I really think you would like it! And thank you, dear friend!

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