A friend visited my home recently. She lingered over favorite treasures and seemed to enjoy listening to their history. The time we shared was a gift for both of us. A few days later she sent me another gift – a memorable book.
The book is Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s anniversary edition of Gift from the Sea. I read the book years ago, probably on a plane, or in some equally distracting space. This time I chose a quiet Sunday afternoon at home to soak in her words. It was fascinating to discover her messages are as relevant as when the book was published 66 years ago.
Here are excerpts:
Today a kind of planetal point of view has burst upon mankind. The world is rumbling and erupting in ever-widening circles. The tensions, conflicts, and sufferings touch all of us. Because we cannot solve our problems here at home, we talk about problems out there in the world. We can’t feel deeply for an abstraction called the mass. We can’t make the future a substitute for the present. What guarantees the future will be better if we neglect the present? The now is passed over in the race for the future. Here is neglected for there. The individual is dwarfed by the enormity of the mass.
The author continues: We must understand the uniqueness of each member of the human family. The spontaneity of now. The vividness of here.
Lindbergh wrote the book when she lived by the ocean. Her closing thoughts reflect that: The waves echo Patience-Faith-Openness-Simplicity-Solitude-Intermittency … this is what the sea has to teach.
It all sounds too familiar. We’ve made incredible strides in technology, medicine, and more. Yet we dance around tolerance, caring, sharing, listening, love, respect, fairness. What so many great thinkers call the basic substance of life.
Lindbergh seems to suggest that instead of taking on the masses in one big swoop we focus on one person at a time.
Makes sense to me.
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