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SPOTLIGHT: Anne Morrow Lindbergh author of Gifts From the Sea

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Last month I read The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin which is a historical novel inspired by the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Until then, I had not realised that the author of the inspirational book Gift from the Sea was the mother of the kidnapped and murdered Lindbergh baby. 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh was born June 22, 1906 and was a pioneering aviator and the wife of fellow aviator Charles Lindbergh. She wrote many books, spanning from poetry to memoir to non-fiction. On march 1, 1932, their 18 month old baby was kidnapped from their home and sparked a massive investigation that ruined many lives. His body was found the following May, dumped only 6 km away from their house. Its probably one of the most famous -and most tragic - kidnappings in the world.

Gift from the Sea celebrates the need for simplicity, solitude and caring for the soul, and has sold over 3 million copies in 45 languages. It was also the number one non-fiction bestseller in the United States for 1955.

I had long ago given away my copy of 'Gift from the Sea' so I ordered a new copy and read it again. It's a very simple book, yet beautifully written, and contains, I think, a lot of quiet wisdom that really spoke to me in the midst of my frantic writing life. Here are a few of my favourite quotes: 

“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.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

“it takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.” 

― Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 “Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

 “...I want first of all - in fact, as an end to these other desires - to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact - to borrow from the language of the saints -to live 'in grace' as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony...” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“With a 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--woman's normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

 “When you love someone you do not love them, all the time, in the exact same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

And, finally, a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's private diaries:

 “One writes not to be read but to writes to think, to pray, to analyze. One writes to clear one's mind, to dissipate one's fears, to face one's doubts, to look at one's mistakes--in order to retrieve them. One writes to capture and crystallize one's joy, but also to disperse one's gloom. Like prayer--you go to it in sorrow more than joy, for help, a road back to 'grace'.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, War Within & Without: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1939-1944

Want to know more about her? Read The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin.

Georgia commented on 04-Jun-2014 05:26 AM
Thanks so much for your post, Kate. This sounds like a book every woman needs.
Virnell commented on 04-Jun-2014 09:50 PM
Anne Morrow Lindbergh was truly a remarkable woman, wonderfully accomplished and with a great humanity. But "The Aviator's Wife" does not even begin to do justice to her. Anyone can go to to find out about the real woman.
Kate Forsyth commented on 10-Jun-2014 12:05 PM
Thanks so much for your comments - I'll certainly check that website out :)
จักรยานปั่นออกกำลังกาย commented on 11-Jun-2014 09:03 PM
You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the
work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you
who are not afraid to mention how they believe. At all times go after your

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