Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead 1929-1932 by Anne Morrow Lindbergh – Susan’s Newsletter June & July 2007



Susan’s Thursday Note June 28, 2007 & July 5, 2007
Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries & Letters 1929-1932 by Anne Lindbergh
Good morning!  I am on my second cup of coffee and at the frustrated point in my note to you of wanting so much to share about Anne Lindberg (from last week), but not even knowing where to start.  It amazes me how in one moment I can purchase a book, then absolutely connect with the writer.  One “nirvana” for me is to realize I’m loving a book, then go to the front of the book where other writings are listed by the author – and to see a long list.  Oh, that is heaven!  To know that when the book I’m on is finished – I am just beginning to tap the surface.  After writing last week on Gift from the Sea I ordered all else I could get by Anne Lindbergh.  I am engrossed in her letters and diaries.  I have found my gift for this summer. Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries & Letters 1929-1932
For me to find an author that I so connect with is one of the priceless moments of loving to read.  Like realizing all of a sudden that you have made a dear friend.   The process isn’t thought out, just suddenly a realization, “Oh, my goodness – I can’t believe how much I love this person!”  I realize that I had my own thoughts, yet the thoughts had only been at the point of being spun in my head, but not yet solidified into an actual thought.  When I read her entries, I could exclaim to myself, “Oh, yes!  That’s exactly what I think!  Yet I had never actually thought through to think it yet!” 
I cannot wait to read her thoughts over years of her life.  The fact that she wrote a book on the preciousness of taking care of yourself, solitude in your mind, time for reflection and thought (Gift from the Sea) that affected me years later – when I didn’t even realize that she was the mother of the tragic kidnapping/murder of her toddler.  I cannot wait to read her letters to her mother, sister, mother-in-law, and Charles over the course of her life.  To observe from the outside her way, regardless of what life brings her, she processed, thought through, and matured as one of the women that will go down as having a large influence on my personal life a decade later (her letters right now are 1929). 
She is at the “gold” time of her life – her flights, her love of the air, her love of her family (small baby), her love of reading.  She describes a woman she is visiting as “a kind of hostess to herself… self-contained…in the fullest sense…Enough fullness of life in her family, friends, books, collecting lovely things for her house, etc., to be contained in them… ” – I love that thought – a hostess to herself!! She spent so much time in observance of others, in reading, in laughter.  She is so funny.  Here is a line from her breakfast time that is fun to read…The sun shone through the marmalade so nicely this morning – I’m sure that’s why breakfast is such a nice meal.  You see, you haven’t had sunshine for twelve hours and so you are extra glad to see it and to eat sunshiny things like golden toast and cornflakes and marmalade – that is, I am because I like those things…(She was always writing that she bought another mismatched bowl – for she absolutely loved cereal…she is just fun to read!)
I loved this from her introduction to the letters of the “gold” time in her life.  In rereading the letters I am aware of hurrying through them (or life itself hurrying).  They seem unreal.  It is as if, in looking at my life, I were watching a swift-flowing stream, satin smooth on the surface, rushing headlong to the sheer drop of tragedy.  Significantly, the letter that stands out most vividly at the end of that summer of letters, is the one after my father’s death…In replying, I let myself write from the depths of feeling.  The hand of grief released me from the hand of the censor.  There were other values, I was beginning to learn, more important than discretion or even privacy.  As I discovered the following spring, in the abyss of tragedy, I needed to return to a deeper resource.  I had to write honestly.  So one can say perhaps that sorrow also played its part in setting me free.  But that is a different story.  The first part of this book and this introduction cover the hour of gold. 
Another few lines I liked… I miss the sea.  Sea loneliness.  The loneliness you get by the sea is alive.   It doesn’t subdue you and make you feel abject.  It’s a stimulating loneliness.  (I LOVE that line!!! like the silence in a corn field for us?)
Oh – how do I choose which parts I underlined?  You all just have to get engrossed in these letters!!!  She was writing her mother-in-law after an airliner crash, giving her an insight into Charles’ flying abilities to assure her of their safety. 
  1. That he does know when to turn back.  He does not rely on weather reports but uses his own judgment about what weather he can go through.  He looks at it and knows.  No one can be perfect, but he is very, very good and doesn’t take that kind of chance if he isn’t sure. 
  2. He is one of those rare people who do their best in an emergency, instead of their worst, the way most people do. 
I wrote in the margin after reading those abilities in flight…”Life, too – Can I say this about me in “weather” and unforeseen events in my own personal ‘life’?”  I want to face what comes to me and show my best side.  I want to be rare.  I want to love life.  I want to feel.  To read Anne Lindbergh gives me emotion.  Gives me laughter.  Gives me tears.  Anyone that can bring feelings to my life – I cherish their friendship whether in real life or in books. 
I hope that this note isn’t too long.  I just look forward to reading more of her life – you will all, obviously, be going through it with me!  Now, go drink your coffee, listen to our birds singing for us, and know – we have to keep feeling, to keep breathing.  If you’re in your “Hour of Gold” – ENJOY!  If you’re in your “Hour of Lead” – keep breathing.  Never think you won’t feel again.  You will.  Just start with listening to the birds.  They sing for you.  Go take on your day!  And thank you thank you thank you for your encouragement and business.  You know how much you mean to our store & my life.  Susan
July 5, 2007 Susan’s Note
Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries & Letters 1929-1932 by Anne Lindbergh
Good morning!  I almost backed out on all of you this morning, thinking, “How in the world am I going to come up with anything inspiring for you when my brain is still seeing fireworks, and as unreactive as a brain can be to the idea of actually organizing a thought!”  But, once again – the power of a wonderful cup of coffee!  The aroma first sparked a little action between my ears, and two cups into my system later of the substance that I’m surprised isn’t illegal – I think some neurons are firing! 
This week I finished one set of letters/diaries of Anne Lindbergh, Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead which included her early marriage and flight training (Hour of Gold) then going into her Hour of Lead (titled from an Emily Dickinson poem) which included letters to her family daily during the kidnapping/murder of her firstborn son.  I loaned out my copy of the book already, so can’t give you the exact words, but thoughts over a few months were to this… My faith is shattered… nothing is as lonely as the loss of my faith…and at a later point…my faith is sustaining me, to have felt the loss of my faith was more devastating than __________ (dare I admit I can’t remember the exact analogy?)  I was thinking during the night how I wanted to write something possibly funny to all of you this morning, after the night of celebration last night, but after thinking about that – I also thought that possibly having a holiday yesterday wasn’t a day of celebration for some of you.  It was a time to miss what you wish was here.  It was a time to think about your family – which might be a mixture of emotions.  So what I’d like to do is just write for you two readings that I really like, hoping they will meet some of your needs today.  Give you some refreshment in your thoughts.  Give you the ability to continue praying.
“Do not expect to hear a voice,” the missionary had told him when he inquired as to whether he had prayed properly.  “Simply cultivate the habit of prayer and after awhile you will find answer in the content it brings to your heart and the direction it brings to your heart and the direction it brings to your mind.  Wait upon the Lord.  “(The Living Reed by Pearl Buck)
At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him.  Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him.  “What I tell you in darkness” – watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut.  Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God?  Then remain quiet.  If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen.  Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed.  If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying.   When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light…(My Utmost for His Highest, Feb.   14th, devotional by Oswald Chambers)
When I read Anne Lindbergh’s letters of such an agonizing time in her life – I just thought of the devotional from February.  Then the book by Pearl Buck I have been reading this week, and the thoughts all went together for me.  To not ever ever think that our faith is gone.  Silence in life hurts – but for every night we do have the promise of a morning.  Stay on your knees.  The comfort you will receive in whatever is hurting you or causing your chest to hurt – you will find sustenance and strength there.  Remain silent.  My favorite verse of all – I just love this verse…   Be still and know that I am God.  A promise!  I just love that Anne Lindbergh went through so much, yet wrote Gift from the Sea 50 years later that so impacted me.  She didn’t quit. 
Now, go take on your week and weekend.  Take care of yourself – give yourself some time to do something to show you are “a host or hostess to yourself” – remember that line from Anne Lindbergh last week?  Thank you for coming into our little store for your gifts and books.  We appreciate your business so much and love to try to make an environment where you can leave your stresses at the front door and find refreshment in our little shop.  Thank you for your notes and your suggestions, too – I need all the help you can give me on ideas for what you want me to carry!  I hear the birds – do you?  They’re singing for us!  Don’t forget to try to read – books WILL change your life!  Susan
Works Cited: 
Lindbergh, Anne.  Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries & Letters 1929-1932 by Anne Lindbergh.  New York.  Houghton Mifflin.  1993.