Susan's Thursday morning note August 13, 2011 ("Lord, Send My Roots Rain") followed by July 31, 2008 Susan's Newsletter (Saying Good-bye. Prayer) followed by May 6, 2010 Susan's Newsletter (Beauty. Pain. Grief. Hope. Awareness. Solitude. Time) War Within and Without 1939-1944: Diaries & Journals of Anne Lindbergh
Susan's Thursday morning note August 13, 2011 ("Lord, Send My Roots Rain")
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.
Below are paragraphs underlined in her journals that I like to reread. I hope you find the same kindred thoughts in them as I did.
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 – 1939. Prayer. 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 convictions. One 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 (I picture many of you reading this – saying goodbye to college students, daughters/sons home on holiday…dearest friends, and to those that have died.) (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 goodbye. I 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. I can’t wait for you to see our latest project – where you can look through the books that we would love to have in our inventory. Read below about librarything – the beginning for some of you, and the continuance for others, on making books a priority in our lives. Have a great day. 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.
Susan's Thursday morning note May 6, 2010 Anne Lindbergh Writings War Within and Without: Diaries and Letters 1939-1944. Misc. thoughts on beauty, pain, grief, hope, awareness, solitude, time use
Good morning! Stillness. Flowers. Birds. Quiet. Peaceful. Restless. Wondering minds. Dreams. Realities. Beauty. Spring. Coffee. What a beautiful morning to write for you. So often I have written out of Anne Lindbergh’s journals. When my mind can’t settle, or when I cannot find a book that “works” for me for whatever reason, I know what will feed me. I go to my shelves. I go to the third shelf down where my treasures lie. I pull out any book of Anne Lindbergh, put on my favorite socks, grab the quilt, find my missing glasses, and in two seconds find a line that I again think, “Oh, goodness, that’s what I would have written if I had the ability to realize and verbalize my thoughts!”
This week I have again been reading out of her journals from 1942. During WW2. Daily newspaper articles of extreme horror to begin her mornings. Little children to care for. Writing to be done if she can find spare time for her books. Trying to find a balance of emotions. This is a taste of some of what I’ve read. It’s so difficult for me to pick what you would also benefit from reading, but here is a taste of what I’ve thought on this week – hoping you find words that help you through this week. We have each day. Each evening we write in our minds an epitaph of the hours we will never get back. What will we write tonight? Will we write something worth reading that makes us proud of how we used our moments? Regardless of any past. Today. Our gift. All our choice on where our minds take us. Over and over having thoughts of those that inspire us in our minds. Our choice. Read. Be inspired. Think. Be still. Even if only inwardly if we can’t outwardly because of responsibilities.
April, 1942. Spring morning. Life. Beauty. Pain. Hope. Awareness.
This morning is still, warm, newly awakened. One walks out into it like a flower just opened. The world sounds like spring, like summer, this morning. So still, so perfect, so whole is the morning that one can hear all the small sounds dropped into it. One hears superhumanly – like God. The birds, the peepers, the waves – but also a cart somewhere rumbling over a farm road, a steamer’s whistle from miles away. One feels as if one could hear worms turning in the earth, and also guns across the sea. When I was young I always felt a morning like this meant a promise of something wonderful – for me, perhaps.
Good things happening I did not know of – love in someone’s heart far way from me, or the success of some venture of my own. I thought – quite literally – it was a sign from heaven. The person who was ill would get well. He who was lost would be found. Or maybe something wonderful was happening for the world – some new spirit blooming. How could hate and cruelty and evil be “true” on a morning like this? The morning was a “sign.” I still believe it is a “sign,” but not for anything good happening to me or the world, anything specific. The love is not blooming in someone’s heart. The ventures fail. The one who is sick, dies, and the one who is lost is never found. Hate and cruelty and evil are still rampant, war goes on. And yet it is a sign. It is a sign that in spite of these things beauty still exists and goes on side by side with horror. That there is love and goodness and beauty and spirit in the world – always. This is only one of the times when it is clothed in flesh – in the flesh of a spring morning. We doubt and we need the sign in order to believe. A morning like this is the morning of Resurrection – when we see and believe, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
April 12, 1942. Life – beauty and suffering.
I used to think it was, “One learns by suffering.” One doesn’t, though. One learns through suffering and beauty. One alone won’t do it. You’ve to have both. It’s hard to know just how to get suffering and beauty, because though suffering is there all the time, beauty is a gift and comes from the outside. You can’t call it to you, or even seek it. It is an act of grace. All you can do is not to shut yourself away from it – not to close up. You must remain open – vulnerable.
October, 1942 – Different places we’ve lived have memories of the “walk” we took… – love this one! Can you picture different walks from your past each place you lived & the memories associated with the conversations?
We have always had a special walk at each place we have lived in. The walk belongs to the place in some special way. And yet it belongs to us even more than tot he place. It becomes irregular, arbitrary, taken in all weathers, colored with our conversations, our thoughts. it becomes part of the pattern of our minds. Sometimes I take these paths in my sleep. I wonder if in some strange way we form them after a pattern in our minds. Perhaps it is the same walk over and over again, the same pattern. And represents something fundamental in our lives. Something symbolic. The walk in Illiec – over the flats and rocky islands to the Carrels’ – had a Pilgrim’s Progress, allegorical quality to it. One had all sorts of difficulties to master before one got to one’s destination. The mud, the sand, the briars, the rocks, the big pebbles, the hill, the fence. And even the one through the Bois in Paris seemed symbolical, and very lonely, even in the Bois. It seemed like a ghost path – we were alone on it, we followed it inexorably, it crossed other people’s paths and sometimes accompanied them. But we never stopped or deviated, we went straight ahead, across sidewalks and beside streams – always the same walk, and always alone. The walk was in us, not in the Bois.
November, 1942. Recalling memories.
To work at something like this, to summon up the past is very strange. One seems to have two kinds of memory. The first is just thought. I remember thus and so. It does not touch you. It is mental only, though quite accurate and cold. but the second is something else. There is an inner door to memory and when you open it, it is all right there. You are there. I am in Long Barn, I see it, I feel it, I smell it, I touch it. More important still I am the person I was then, with all the thoughts and feelings. Of course I am still myself now, looking on. If find it is quite painful to push open that inner door. It is not the experiences then were painful nor yet that they were so happy that I look back with too much longing on them. It’s just that I feel it – life – so vividly, almost more vividly that I did then, and its very vividness is a kind of anguish.
January, 1943. Covering up “moods”
It is strange how utterly mad one’s thoughts are (Dostoevsky painted people as they really are) and yet one goes right on leading a normal life, hiding from people the depression or elation you happen to be in, hiding what you really are, playing as well as you can the role you must play. For this is the mark of maturity – the degree to which one can go on making the oblations, performing the rite when – as St. Ex. says – the God has left the temple. There are always times when the God is hidden. But one must go on through the motions even when one sees no sense in it – clean out the drawers, bathe the baby, copy the last chapter, write the old nurse, comfort Jon in his gloom (so like mine. Can I teach him how to bridge these pits?) For one can learn – in time.
February, 1943. Not “wasting” time in a day
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?
February, 1943. Being alone in nature to regain peace.
I go out into the big green hill to try to blow it all away – to find the sky. I go up on the hill where the green is, where there is space. I stand a long time until I feel the wind has blown some of the bitterness away, I realize standing there that I have had three big things to fight against in my life. The first was just sorrow (the Case) [the kidnapping/murder of baby Charles], the second was fear (the flights), and the third is bitterness (this whole war struggle). And the third is the hardest.
March, 1943. Ups & downs of life – I like these sentences (she is just finishing one of her books).
I am working hard. My story is almost done. I have put everything in it – everything I learned from that life in the past. It is a flight over the Alps but it could be anything. Childbirth or getting married, or the mental and moral struggles one has. There are those same peaks and those same abysses. It is my whole life.
I’ll end with one more thought on spring that I love from this journal…
I go out and pick flowers in the early crisp morning sun. It is delicious, all the flowers are still wet and bowed and the earth dark and rich smelling. I love doing the flowers each morning, admiring them as I cut, watching the bees curled up asleep on the flower or the butterflies choosing deliberately which one to go to next. It is a kind of participation with the world’s beauty before I enclose myself in my little house, to work. I rejoice in them and in the morning and it joins me to something fundamental and lasting and eternal. It is a kind of prayer, I suppose. A hymn of praise. How fully one lives in such moments…
Did we take the time to listen to the birds singing to us this morning? Will we discipline our time to find the time to hear the birds singing for us? To notice the bee on the flower? To go to the hills (even if our back porch!) and look into the heavens, across the fields – to put all in an eternal perspective? The beauty of eternity. Knowing our souls were in God’s presence before and after their time here on earth. Eternal perspective. All can become so much more beautiful and meaningful when we keep this in our minds. Be Still and Know that I am God. Our promise. Rest. Peace. Make our day count. Our choice. Not looking at past mistakes…but taking our ideals, thoughts, decisions to a higher level. What are we capable of? Let’s try. Life is too short to settle for the alternative. Have a great weekend. Thank you so much for letting me come into your Thursday again. Thank you so much for telling so many about our store. How we love to be here! Susan
Latin for this week: floreo - to flower albiflorus - having white flowers fragrans - sweet-smelling, fragrant alis volat propris - she flies with her own wings creo vitae a ambulatio memoranda - make life a walk to remember Works Cited: Lindberg, Anne Morrow. War Within and Without: Diaries and Letters 1939-1944. New York. Harcourt Brace. 1980.