Diaries and Letters of Anne Lindbergh – Goodbyes. Soul. Strength. Prayer. Grief (July 2008 & Aug 2011)

Susan's Thursday note August 13, 2011 (Soul Strength)
Susan's Thursday note July 31, 2008 (Saying Good-bye, Prayer)
War Within and Without 1939-1944: Diaries & Journals of Anne Lindbergh
Good morning!!!   It seems like so long since I’ve sat to write.  It’s beautiful for thinking this morning…windows open.  Cats against the back of the computer for the vibration & heat.  Little baby asleep in little blue Hebrew polka-dotted blanket.  Silence.  So rare.  Time to write for you what I’ve been reading and thinking about the last few weeks, hoping you will now have new thoughts in your head to hold onto in your personal circumstances. 
I have been back into Anne Lindbergh journals and diaries that I love so much.   In February, 1943, right in the midst of WW2, here is a quote she gave to start her entry, written by a poet from the early 1800’s, Gerard Manley Hopkins.


"O thou lord of life, send my roots rain."
I read this line three weeks ago, and the words made an impression and stayed with me.  “Lord, send my soul strength.”  Rain on my soul.  Just absolutely find that thought beautiful.
Here are some more paragraphs underlined in her journals that I like to reread….I hope you find the same kindred thoughts in them as I did.
Use of time I try not to waste any of the day.  By waste I don't mean exactly what other people do.  Waste is being unaware.  It is spending too much time - unaware time - on the newspapers, or reading an article only to be able to write a friend that you've read it.  Or dreaming, or fiddling with pieces of paper worrying, or looking at catalogues, or making too many useless trips up and down stairs, or walking out of doors and not seeing it.  And yet sometimes I feel I wear myself out being "aware."  Is this why I am so tired at the end of the day?
Growth after loss ...I show C. a twisted branch that I say has a certain passion in it, and he says the branch is that way because it was broken off and a side branch forced itself to grow past that break.  "It is the will to live past Death." ...The branch has tried to compensate, even in direction, for its sister branch.
Silence ...No American can understand the need for time - that is, simply space to breathe.  If you have ten minutes to spare you should jam that full instead of leaving it - as space around your next ten minutes.  How can anything ripen without those "empty" ten minutes?
Release of pain and/or stress with prayer...terrible ache in my chest - that I can do nothing about.  And then I find that I am praying, as I have not prayed since little Charles, and perhaps it is the same, for it is not exactly for myself that I pray, not even as much as when I prayed then.  Though I cannot exactly explain this.  And I am, in a miraculous way, emptied of all anguish, empty and free, exactly as if there had been bars against my heart and suddenly they had cracked and heart and spirit were free and could leave my body - like death.  And not only that.  I felt almost with as much reality as I felt the wind, softly rising, on my lips - a change of wind, the mornings's.  I felt something come into me as though from the outside, answers to my questions and doubts.  I suppose my  own answers inside of me, and yet they felt as much from the outside, as objective as that change of wind on my lips.  Then I knew it was over and that I must go back to bed, my heart full of gratitude, and I slept.
Aging & description of a beautiful woman Anne admired... I could hardly hear her voice at times, it was so frail, and yet what she said was "mordant."  There was nothing soft about her; you did not want to be sentimental with her.  She reminded me of Mme du Deffand - a bluestocking of the 18th century.  That intellectual fervor, that passion for the truth, along with much gallantry, charm, beauty, and elegance.  Yes, a kind of elegance.  A Mme du Deffand without the bitterness, because she discovered she could worship.  "The only saint before whom I light my candle."  And no vanity - a brilliant woman with no intellectual vanity at all.  She said you didn't need money in old age.  The young needed it, for opportunities,  In age one needed very little:  "One needs warmth - I put warmth very high! - and books, and friends."  The little apartment was tiny but warm.  It did not seem crowded, for it was furnished simply but with distinction, darkish walls against which daffodils and pictures and books glowed like jewels.

Those were very fragmented sections, but I have so much in each book underlined, I don’t know what to share.  Finding the writing of someone that solidifies thoughts I didn’t realize I had…that is a joy in my life.  To find the connection.  And, then, hopefully, to find an author that continues with the thoughts – maybe where I personally am, and takes them further to where I can then find direction to go.  Hard to explain.  Authors.  Suggestions from who they refer to for us to then go and read.  No end to the mazes we could enter as we read one’s journals, then read the books they read before them.  One of my main ways of finding books for my soul.  Who do I respect when I read?  What did they read?  This can take me back several centuries, finding how one’s thoughts in print affected so many in later years, me being one.

 Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday again!!  Thank you so much for your e-mails the last month with the birth of our son.  I am so behind on writing back.  I’m so behind I don’t know where to start?  Maybe I’ll “accidentally” delete everything and go hold him with no guilt!!!  Your business is constant – how can I ever thank you?  Have a great week.  Tonight we will have a chance to write our epitaph of the moments we will no longer have that we’re given today.  Will our writing be worth etching in stone?  Will our time used show thankfulness to our God for giving us the day?  We are here for a reason.  Regardless of what we see in others, we are given our life.   Will we show Him our thankfulness for the beauty around us?  The beauty that overshadows anything that hurts?  Silence.  Contemplation.  Prayer.  Dropping to our knees or looking up to the heavens.  The peace that passes the understanding of anyone around us is promised to us.  I hope I’m working when you come by the store, but if not, know how much your business and encouragement and ideas for me mean!!  Have a great week!!!  Susan

Latin for this week:
pluvia and inber - rain
Imber Ymber - rain shower, rain storm, pelting rain

Susan’s Thursday morning note July 31, 2008 (Saying Good-bye, Prayer)

Good morning.  The sun is barely letting me know that the universe is on track with where it’s supposed to be this morning.  Just popping out.  What did it see on the other side of the earth while we slept?  What scenes?  Places we would love to travel to – the sun gets to visit so regularly.  I wish we could get a copy of his journal!   What stories he (she?  grin) has kept to himself.  I love pretending like that.  When it seems daunting to me to concentrate on a new book, or when time doesn’t give me the privilege of reading in long doses, I pick up books by my bed or nearest shelves that I already know.  That interest me.  I pulled out Anne Lindbergh’s letters and diaries again this week and continued her life during 1939.  WW2 beginning.  Here are some of the thoughts I think you will like to think about this week.  On prayer.  On saying good-bye.

On the eve of WWII - 1939Prayer.  I go to bed early with a splitting headache and lie down with hot cloths on my eyes.  But it goes on.  I hear guns booming distantly...I feel I cannot lie in bed any longer - not the eyeache now but as though something would burst inside of me.  I get up and go to the window, quietly...and sit on the arm of a chair and look out.  It is cool and very tranquil.  The ground is dappled with moonlight, though I can't see the moon.  The trees, that wall to the west, stand up in the moonlight dimly, drowsily.  The air is full of that thick curtain of sound of crickets - a drowning noise, like sleep.  It is calm and peaceful.  I can see the broken pier down by the water and the dark water beyond, through the trees, and the dim lights-warm gold-of Connecticut on the opposite shore, and I can see two stars in the sky Arcturus?  And this terrible ache in my chest - that I can do nothing about.  And then I find that I am praying, as I have not prayed since little Charles, and perhaps it is the same, for it is not exactly for myself that I pray, not even as much as when I prayed then.  Though I cannot exactly explain this.  And I am, in a miraculous way, emptied of all anguish, empty and free, exactly as if there had been bars against my heart and suddenly they had cracked and heart and spirit were free and could leave my body - like death...then I knew it was over and that I must go back to bed, my heart full of gratitude, and I slept. 

On privacy of your own thoughts and convictionsOne has to hold one's own standards "and not lose too much time or too much courage in explaining your position to others" [Rilke]. 

On a beautiful aged woman: She has a gentle face and looks lovely to me with her gray hair.  There is a peace and a beauty about her face that is missing from the rest of the faces there.  She blesses us.., "God be with you wherever you go." 

On saying good-bye (This was written by Charles to Anne)...  I feel your absence all around me and I am acutely conscious of the passage of time.  When you were here, I was so surrounded by the warmth and satisfaction of your presence that time slipped by unnoticed behind my back.  I was keenly aware of you before you came.  I am keenly aware of you now that you are gone... 

Anne's writings on saying goodbyeI know of course there is a spiritual nearness, I know there is a spiritual independence and that when I touch it I can get the spiritual nearness to you.  In other words if I can stay in touch with the core of me then I can stay in touch with you, even better than by the physical crutch of leaning on you when you are there, beside me.  Tonight I could not reach the core of me.  A physical ache.  I wonder if one does establish certain invisible physical bonds when you are near people and then sever them painfully when you leave.  Spiritual nearness is something else, more direct, needs no intermediary, no physical closeness.  It doesn't go over the wires but is more like a radio wave (comes in flashes).  I feel better now - I am refinding the spiritual nearness.  Probably one is never further away than in that interim period when the physical bonds are being wrenched apart and the spiritual ones not yet recovered.  Good night.


No matter what our situation we can find authors that have an understanding of what we are thinking and who we are.  We must all continue to pull down books off of our shelves.  To keep the thoughts of those we respect near us.  We find strength.  We find new inquiries that give our minds something to think about outside of our trivial details that can consume us.  We find hope.  We find friends.  We find understanding.  Don’t let yourself feel alone.  We have so many in history that understand us – but we will only find the connections if we make the search a priority.  Not make excuses of being too busy, or not being readers, or not knowing what to read.  The thoughts are all around – we just have to make a conscious decision (like eating well or exercise) that we will read.  To form our own ideas.  To grow.  To be challenged.  Do not forget the promise that if you’ll look up to the hills in prayer – your help will come.  A promise.  Thanks for letting me be in your morning, and thank you for your encouragement and business in our store.  Know that if I’m not in the store when you come over – I see your name and I thank you, not in person, but in my mind.   Susan

Latin for this week: Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet – "He who feared he would not succeed sat still" (Horace).  For fear of failure he did nothing. 

Works Cited: Lindbergh, Anne Morrow.  War Within and Without 1939-1944.  New York.  Harcourt, Brace, & Co.  1980.