Gift from the Sea
Many sunsets ago, I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's
thought provoking book, Gift from the Sea.
It is one of the books from my "reading life" that I treasure, read time and again, and settles well in my heart.
"I walked far down the beach, soothed by the rhythm of the waves, the sun on my bareback and legs, the wind and mist from the spray on my hair. Into the waves and out like a sandpiper. And then home, drenched, drugged, reeling, full to the brim with my day alone; full like the moon before the night has taken a single nibble of it; full as a cup poured up to the lip. There is a quality to fullness that the Psalmist expressed: "My cup runneth over." Let no one come--I pray in sudden panic--I might spill myself away!
"Spill myself away." Isn't that what we, women, do on a near-daily basis?
Spilling over, two small words with intuitive significance.
The opening of Questions.
Why do we long to be by water, a river, pond or ocean?
Why do we collect talismans: stones, pebbles, driftwood, shells?
What is their mystery; their hold on us?
Do they remind us of a few days, a week, where we didn't Spill Over?
Self-nourishment. Solitude. Repetition. Infinity. Sanctuary
These are the most arresting of shells. Full of fascination, imperfections, yet strong, protecting, a house for guests of all kinds. Room for all. Yet tucked deep inside is a place for me-ness, space, solitude, sanctuary.
These shells remind me of a poem by Rumi. The Guest House.
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing
And invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
I have found ever so many perfect, flawless shells. They rest upon shelves, tables; in gleaming glass jars and vases; lovely pristine gifts of nature's handwork.
However, in the end, I prefer gnarled and misshaped shells with infinite imperfections, flaws, life's markings that tell the whole story.
Such is life with its dings and dents, imperfections, flukes, disappointments--they add to my many blessings, the true picture of my journey.
So I roll along, tumbled, tossed by life's
turbulent waves, knowing that but a few feet out is the
A gift to You...feel free to print.