Two Gifts from the Sea

Sometimes we have to get away. Something happens when we leave the known for the unknown, even if the unknown is oddly familiar. For over 30 years now, I’ve made my way to the Outer Banks of NC for either a day, a week, or even longer. Even though it is a familiar landscape, I find something brand new waiting for me when I arrive.

Today, as I prepare for yet another visit to my own little piece of paradise, I find myself preparing my heart for what lies ahead. As the waves kiss my toes, I’ve always met God in a very special way. This year I have an even greater expectancy perhaps due to the time we’ve spent in the waiting room. My heart is calmer. My soul is quieter. My ears are ready to hear.

As always, my time at the ocean’s edge reminds me of one of my favorite books, Gift from the Sea, by one of my favorite author’s, Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Every year, Anne would escape to the ocean, her favorite being Captiva Island off the Gulf Coast of Florida. It is said that she actually penned Gift from the Sea while spending time there.

Today, I am drawing on two beautiful gifts from the sea of her writing that both encourage and empower us to make our time in the waiting room even more intentional.

As we’re learning, time spent in the waiting room playing the waiting game can be extremely frustrating, but if we yield to it, can be extremely fruitful.

Anne learned this and as a result offers us these words on patience and peace.

Two Gifts from the Sea

Patience

“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

Two Gifts from the Sea

Peace

“I want first of all… 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. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man be one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Two Gifts from the Sea

Will You Please Help Me?

One very clear intention I am setting for my time by the sea this year is to work on something very near and dear to my heart…a book project on contentment. It is based on the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 4:6, “Better one handful with tranquility than two handful with toil and strife.”

I have a few questions I would love for you to answer. I need your help in defining some of the key components of practicing contentment in this oft-crazy culture of ours.

  1. When you read this scripture, what comes to mind? What speaks loudest to your heart and mind?
  2. How would you define tranquility? contentment? balance?
  3. Do you feel as though you are content with your life? Your relationships? Your circumstances? If so, how do you achieve such content? If not, how might you achieve it?
  4. What would “one handful of tranquility” look like in your life?

Just post your comments here on our blog or if you’d like more privacy, send me an email, janellrardon@gmail.com. Every one who offers a comment will be entered into my Gift from the Sea contest. Expect something very special from my favorite place…the Outer Banks of NC.