Sunday, July 30, 2006

Quotes from Anne Morrow Lindbergh

While doing some research for my course on "Memoirs: Reading and Writing the Stories of Our Lives" that husband John and I will be teaching to American college students in Italy in October, I came across some thought-provoking quotes from Anne Morrow Lindbergh. If you haven't read her wonderful little classic, "Gift from the Sea," I would highly recommend it for some late summer reading. Here are the quotes:

After all, I don't see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.

America, which has the most glorious present still existing in the world today, hardly stops to enjoy it, in her insatiable appetite for the future.

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day - like writing a poem or saying a prayer.

By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.

Charles is life itself-pure life, force, like sunlight-and it is for this that I married him and this that holds me to him-caring always, caring desperately what happens to him and whatever he happens to be involved in.

Don't wish me happiness-I don't expect to be happy it's gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor-I will need them all.

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.

Grief can't be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way.

I believe that what woman resents is not so much giving herself in pieces as giving herself purposelessly.

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

I feel we are all islands - in a common sea.

I have been overcome by the beauty and richness of our life together, those early mornings setting out, those evenings gleaming with rivers and lakes below us, still holding the last light.

I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.

If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.

The loneliness you get by the sea is personal and alive. It doesn't subdue you and make you feel abject. It's stimulating loneliness.

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea.

1 comment:

  1. Nice one. Anne Morrow Lindbergh certainly knows how to put things. That one about beautiful shells on the beach being beautiful if they are few - it reminds me of the last time I went to NYC, where a friend took me to an all-you-can-eat sushi bar. Since I love sushi, it sounded glorious, but watching people pile 50 pieces of sushi on their plates, and pick out the rice to eat only the fish because they were too full, made me rethink things. It made me feel slightly ill. There's something perfect about four expensive little pieces of beautifully-crafted sushi on a plate, and that one always wishes there was more, but doesn't get it.

    Your topic reminds me of a book I picked up a trade fair a few years ago, called 'Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory' by Maureen Murdock. I remember it being fairly good, I must go back and look at it again.