Posted by: ritagone | June 8, 2016

Another “Gift” Devotional For Our Time



Gift-from-the-sea-in-sand         Last week I shared a reading out of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift From the Sea,” and the response was very positive. It seems that this little book is a favorite of many of those who read my blog, and so I don’t feel bad about posting another of her great passages, because it also strikes a chord with some of the thoughts I’ve been pondering lately, and she says so profoundly better than I could what I want to say.

If Anne Morrow Lindbergh thought she was living in a time of great distraction, what would she think of our lives now, what with social media bombarding us constantly, and having to make choices each and every day to turn away from our phones, TVs and iPads and computers to find some times of true peace and quiet? Most of us have no idea (myself included, I admit) what it means to be truly focused and still, not distracted by the world around me and its things and lures. And that might go double for wives and mothers! (And yes, I recognize that that is a sexist comment!)

A great verse to go along with this reading is Psalm 16:8: “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (NIV)


Certain environments, certain modes of life, certain rules of conduct are more conducive to inner and outer harmony than others. There are, in fact, certain roads that one may follow. Simplification of life is one of them.


I mean to follow a simple life. But I do not. I find that my form of life does not foster simplicity: the life I have chosen as wife and mother entrains a whole caravan of complications. It involves food and shelter, meals, planning, marketing, bills and making ends meet in a thousand ways. It involves friends, my husband’s, my children’s, and my own, and endless arrangements to get together: letters, invitations, telephone calls and transportations hither and yon.


What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. It puts the trapeze artist to shame. Look at us! This is not the life of simplicity, but the life of multiplicity that the wise warn us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation.


Distraction is, always has been, and probably always will be, inherent in women’s lives. We must be open to all points of the compass; husband, children, friends, home, community; stretched out, exposed like a spider’s web to each breeze that blows, to each call that comes. How difficult for us, then, to achieve a balance in the midst of these contradictory tensions; and yet how necessary for the proper functioning of our lives. How much we need, and how arduous of attainment is that steadiness preached in all rules of holy living. How desirable and distant is the ideal of the contemplative, artist, or saint – the inner inviolable core, the single eye.


With new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions. The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls – women’s normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life.


Woman instinctively wants to give, yet resents giving herself in small pieces. I believe that what she resents is not so much giving herself in pieces as giving herself purposelessly. 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.’ Purposeful giving is not as apt to deplete one’s resources: it belongs to that natural order of giving that seems to renew itself even in the act of depletion. The more one gives, the more one has to give – like milk in the breast.


You know, I truly couldn’t have said it better myself!!!


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