Friendship – Anne Morrow Lindbergh & Charlotte Bronte (July 2009)

Susan's Thursday morning note July 2, 2009 
Friendship - Thoughts of Anne Lindbergh (Diaries & Letters 1936-1939) and Charlotte Bronte (in Villette)

Good morning!  What an incredibly beautiful week!  The coffee wouldn’t even need to taste good with skies this blue & sun this bright!  There has already been a mole delivered to my door from my cats, the coffee did have the perfect filler combination…all is aligned in the universe so far!  I have a few different books open this week and I’m going to just write out for you what I was affected by, hoping that you will also be.  One quote that has been in my head all week was given to me by a friend.  When your heart speaks, take good notes. (Judith Campbell).  Don’t you like that?  Then I read several passages on friendship.  Different friends come to mind with different descriptions of strengths.  Blessed is the influence of one true loving human soul on another. (George Eliot).  I pick up diaries of Anne Lindbergh often.  Finding what I underlined in the past.

On friendship with other women/sisters after “growing up” and being a mother: (Anne Lindbergh in her diaries/journal The Flower & the Nettle 1936-1939)

…it is definitely one’s friends that keep one alive in a certain sense.  Don’t you think so?  Your husband and your marriage may be life itself but you haven’t got the spark to live that life without something from the outside.  The impersonal part of you doesn’t stay alive – or perhaps you might call it the very very personal part, the straight stick inside of you that was there before you got married and goes on existing somehow irrespective of marriage.  that is your true self, after all – the person, presumably, your husband fell in love with.  And you must keep it going.  It gets rather soft and vinelike without outside contacts.  And so it is your friends, really, who make life “livable” in a strange sense. Even if one sees them only once in five years, or through letters, or even a very vivid remembrance of a person, like Elisabeth (her sister who had recently died).  Just to think about Elisabeth makes one more oneself and conscious of life. 

On choosing friends that we see character traits in that we would like to emulate: (Charlotte Bronte, author, in Villette) – a novel published in 1853 about a young girl’s life…from teaching in a boarding school in London, caring for an invalid…her thoughts.  I love books where you get to read the thoughts of the characters.  Her is what she said about one friend:

In addition, she gave me the originality of her character to study: the steadiness of her virtues, I will add, the power of her passions, to admire, the truth of her feelings to trust.  All these things she had, and for these things I clung to her.

A dream with a sister who had died of illness, a dear friend: (Anne Lindbergh referring to a memory of her sister).

I dreamt about Elisabeth very vividly again…us laying in bed…being young and coming to her for advice, for strength.  She was talking to me about my life – how I must plan and arrange and accept….it was important and vital what she was saying…I was feeling it with such intensity – the wisdom of what she was saying – and feeling, too, I must keep this…she would not always be there..she would not be there long.  I couldn’t take one day more – not one, even though I knew how precious the days were, that I might never have another chance like this again…I felt cruelly hurt by the inevitability of my having to leave her to go back to my life….I cried out – right in the middle of what she was saying.  She scolded me, in a matter-of-fact, sensible way, for my self-pity.  “Nonsense, Anne, you’ve got to take it – there’s no use crying about it.  It’s your life.  You’ve got to accept and manage it…”and I thought about all she had accepted in her life, and felt ashamed…she was funny too (in the dream)…she laughed as no one else could have…How lucky I am to have this, this wonderful understanding…How precious and rare it is.  And then I woke up…”Nothing is lost.”  It was all there curled up inside of me, vivid and alive, if only I could reach it.

On just sitting with a friend (Anne Lindbergh)

The normalness of our sitting there together having ate currant buns on the sofa was very gratifying to me.  It acted as a kind of balm to some lace that had been needing it.  It wasn’t that anything we did or said was interesting, but the fact itself was gratifying. 

One more description of friends: (Anne Lindbergh writes…)

Mme Carrell is my idea of a very wonderful woman.  For she is womanly.  That is, she is the kind of person on whose shoulders one could cry and yet one would not do it lightly or for no reason, because she is so strong and courageous…

…You can never tell people how wonderful they are at times like that, for they would not understand: how they dispelled terror, how they took you in, how they strengthened you and made you yourself by some perfectly careless, natural gesture.

I read about friendships and then remake goals on who I would like to be for those in my life…I especially liked how Anne Lindbergh stated they made you yourself.  Isn’t that true?  The friend (rare & precious) that finds you?  I think of my dearest friends…those that “find me” – they range from a kindred-spirit woman (lady!) in her late 80’s to my 8 year old son.  My husband to my teaching friend in Minnesota I haven’t seen in years.  Friends that are only in my dreams…an 80 year old man that loved Camden to a nephew that gives me the perfectly funny look….the ability to get the real grin out of me.  To a student from 15 years ago that I hear from every few years to my kindergarten friend now in Arizona…from my friends around the block to my friends that make me laugh…all so different…all bringing out a different Susan that is still part of the real Susan.  Treasures.  Rare.  Gifts.  Sometimes in life many…sometimes in life few.  But there.  Filling different needs.  Finding different connections….finding me. 

Have a great weekend.  Shoot off a lot of fireworks.  Laugh.  What does it hurt?  Life is so short.  If you can’t think of a dear friend right now…then go check out your favorite book…some of my best friends are from my books!  They find me…know me….understand me…make me who I am.  Make yourself proud with decisions only you know you’ve made today.  Thank you so much for letting me send you my notes and for coming into our store.  You have no idea what your business and support mean.  Happy 4th of July!  Susan

Latin for this week: 
Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore – "I hope that the memory of our friendship will be everlasting" (Cicero).

Works Cited
Bronte, Charlotte.  Villette.  New York.  Penguin Putnam.  2004.  (First published in 1853)
Lindbergh, Anne Morrow.  The Flower & the Nettle: Diaries & Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1936-1939.  New York.  Harcourt Brace.  1976.