Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Pondering Pages/Gifts From the Sea
A weekly MEME sponsored by Lara at Holy Mothering...
A few years ago, I experienced what I was sure was a mid-life crisis. I know that term seems so cliche, but I just can't explain it any other way. For the first time in my life I felt challenged to define who I really was and where I was headed with my life. Up until that point, I was always self-assured and confident. Suddenly, I felt like a frightened child, as if everything I had known and loved fell to pieces in my heart. I was scared, confused and depressed. I'm sure that God used this time to draw me closer to Him, as He often uses our trials in life as a means to show us His deep and tender love for us. In "Gifts from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, I felt the compassion and understanding of God through her words of experience. This book tells the story of a retreat she took at her summer home by the sea. While alone with God, the sea and her notebook, she pondered the meaning of her life in a beautifully poetic way and through her words, I no longer felt alone in my struggles.
"Many people never climb above the plateau of 40-50. The signs that presage growth, so similar, it seems to me, to those in early adolescence: discontent, restlessness, doubt, despair, longing, are interpreted falsely as signs of decay...In middle age, because of the false assumption that it is a period of decline, one interprets these life-signs as signs of approaching death. Instead of facing them, one runs away; one escapes into depressions, nervous breakdowns, drink, love affairs, or frantic, thoughtless, fruitless overwork. Anything rather than face them. Anything rather than stand still and learn from them. One tries to cure the signs of growth, to exorcise them, as if they were devils, when really they might be angels of annunciation.
Angels of annunciation of what? Of a new stage of living when, having shed many of the physical struggles, the worldly ambitions, the material encumbrances of active life, one might be free to fulfill the neglected side of one's self. One might be free for growth of mind, heart and talent; free at last for spiritual growth. Beautiful as it was, it was still a closed world one had to outgrow."
I also loved some of her passages about writing:
"What release to write so that one forgets oneself, forgets one's companion, forgets where one is or what one is going to do next-to be drenched in work as one is drenched in sleep or in the sea."
"I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living."
And finally, about friendship...
"Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn't seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces."
And for my friend Judy, at BENMAKESTEN, some pieces of glass she's been wanting to see, my own gift from the sea!