Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Shannon: From Kari's Blog

I read this on Kari's blog a few days ago and asked for permission to reprint it here at Joyful Life. I could so relate to Kari's thoughts--and Anne Morrow Lindbergh's (minus the cod liver oil :). I'm sure many of you will too.

Gift From the Sea-part one

I've been reading LOTS of books this year, mostly "self-help" type books. You know the ones, how to be a better whatever (fill in the blank with mother, wife, teacher, housekeeper, cook, Christian, etc.) I've also read several psychology books trying to learn more about narcissism and the impact it had on me as a child and how to overcome the past so I can live "a normal life" as an adult. But, the book that impacted me the most this year was Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. If I recall correctly, I was given this book as a teenager or young adult but I just didn't "get it" back then. I think one must have experienced a bit of life as a woman, mother, wife to receive its fullness. Reading it at 43 brought fresh insight into the author's wisdom. Mrs. Lindbergh is the wife of Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator. Together they went through the tragedy of child abduction (their child was kidnapped, held for ransom, and eventually found dead back in the 1930s.) The book, originally written in the 50s, but so relevant for today, is her journal, of sorts, of time spent on the beach reconnecting with herself and with God, and finding that inner-balance that we as women so desperately seek. She uses the term "shedding" to describe how she must get to a simpler life.

From page 25 she writes, "I mean to lead a simple life, to choose a simple shell I can carry easily-like a hermit crab. But I do not. I find that my frame of life does not foster simplicity. My husband and five children must make their way in the world. The life I have chosen ... involves a house in the suburbs ... food and shelter; meals, planning, marketing, bills, and making the ends meet in a thousand ways. It involves not only the butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker but countless other experts to keep my modern house with its modern "simplifications" running properly. It involves health; doctors, dentists, appointments, medicine, cod-liver oil, vitamins, trips to the drugstore. It involves education; spiritual, intellectual, physical; schools ... car-pools, extra trips for basketball or orchestra practice; tutoring; camps, camp equipment and transportation. It involves clothes, shopping, laundry, cleaning, mending, letting skirts down and sewing buttons on, or finding someone else to do it. It involves friends, my husband's, my children's, my own, and endless arrangements to get together; letters, invitations, telephone calls and transportation hither and yon."

This is SO my life and yet like Ms. Morrow I LONG for simplicity.

She goes on: "This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity ... It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul."

"One learns first of all in beach living the art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much."

She speaks of shedding our vanity by living out of a small suitcase of clothing rather than a closet full. Shedding pride by letting go of our "Martha-like anxiety about many things." Shedding hypocrisy in relationships. Taking off the mask.

So what do I plan to shed this year--besides the few holiday pounds? I plan to shed the books about becoming a better anything. While it might help in the short term, I'm always left feeling unworthy or not good enough or worse, that I need "to do MORE." I'm letting go of the self-help and "how-to's." I feel a prompting to search for the answers in His Book. To sift what I have learned through the filter of God's word ALONE. If it's important for me to learn, the Holy Spirit will guide me in all truth. So, if I get the urge to "figure it all out," get a hankerin' for "what's new" in the library, or hear about the latest, greatest book on how to get closer to God, I plan to grab my Bible and a cup of tea instead.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. ...if you are lead by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:1,18).

1 comment:

Sylvia said...

What a blessing Kari! I always feel like I don't read enough "how to" books and don't have a busy enough schedule! Isn't that silly? The Lord really reminded me of how to get truly centered. Thank you Shannon for shareing this with us!