Gift from the Sea
Have you ever felt like there was a book you were supposed to read? Like everywhere you go people mention it and everywhere you look it keeps popping up? I’d been hearing about the book Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh for the past several months. I read excerpts from it in my prayer book and then several people mentioned it. Everything I heard about it was startlingly relevant to what my heart was feeling so I decided it would be a good read for my week at the beach. I looked it up online and tried to find a cheap used copy, but nothing worked out. So I just traveled down to Florida without it, only to walk into our condo and see Gift from the Sea lying conspicuously on the counter. At that point, I felt like I would’ve been disobedient to God not to read it! So nearly every morning I would wander down to the beach alone or find a quiet spot on the patio and read a chapter or two while the sea breeze played with my hair.
It’s a short book, written by Mrs. Lindbergh during a two week vacation in Florida in 1955. She wrote it because she was in the thick of child-raising and career-making and couldn’t seem to catch her breath. She wanted to break away from it all and spend some time thinking about her life, trying to make sense of it, and hoped to create a better way of living. Isn’t that a worthy endeavor? I love that she just went for it. She cleared it with her husband, found someone to watch her kiddos, she booked the cottage on the beach, and she spent two weeks swimming and picnicking and thinking and writing. The notes she took that week became Gift from the Sea.
With words of beauty and wisdom, she reflects on the many different seasons and relationships of her life. She pays particular attention to the life of a woman, during the periods of a young marriage, then children and work, and finally during the empty nest, when you search for renewed meaning in your life and marriage. I was amazed at how very relevant her observations were, even though life seems to have changed a lot in the last fifty years.
I don’t want to say more about the book, partly because I don’t want to give anything away, partly because I feel like I can’t do justice to her brilliant insight into the life of a woman, but I highly recommend this book. If nothing else, read the chapter called “Moon Shell”. It deals with the tension that every woman feels between the ever-widening spheres of relationships and the hope for a peaceful, centered soul. It’s like she knew that one day there would be such a thing as Facebook. :)
What about you? What has been your favorite book of the summer? Any books you have waiting on your shelf once your life settles down a bit?