July 2, 2009:
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
Good morning! Are you just resigned to the fact that you have absolutely no idea what to expect with the weather today, and you'll just grit your teeth & endure the cold, or take a quick glance, not getting your hopes too up….to see if there is a the tiniest possibility of the sun shining through your kitchen window?!?!? So close! Before we know it the tulips will pop up……don't give up!!!
I finished reading the fifth of Anne Lindbergh's journals/diaries this week. I didn't want to finish, because they've taken me almost two years to get through, and I always have had them by my bed to grab and continue whenever I need to have a short reading. I flipped through the final one this week & saw a note I wrote in the margin. The note wasn't necessarily a true comment, but made by Camden to me. "October 2008. Camden said this week, "You're a lady, not a woman." I wrote that in the margin beside this comment from Anne after a visit to a woman overseas…She is a sympathetic, quick, and intelligent woman. Also a "lady." One turns almost unconsciously to the old and snobbish-"capitalistic" terms here. I mean by "lady" that she had a true and gracious sense of kindness…She showed grace and tact and understanding and sympathy…
I know that Camden's comment came from the viewpoint of a seven-year old looking at his mother (obviously not at a "freak out" moment…he describes me then in words I didn't know he knew!) I also know that I often think of Proverbs 31. So often we (meaning my friends as mothers, workers in & outside the home, wives, caregivers…), we can easily read the articles and books that empathize with our tiredness and give us validation to whine and think, "Woe is me, I have to do it all…." When I fall into that trap then I try to think of this "lady" as a role model. She takes pride that she rises before her children and husband, preparing for the day. She takes pride in the fact that she is up after them, looking down on them, getting her work done after all of the craziness of her day. She works on her inner spirit, finding this more important than her looks. She is my role-model. Who I would love to emulate…at least continually put before me in my mind. I hope that by printing this Proverb I can encourage all of you in your striving for being the best you can be….a true "lady" that honors God. (Men – you can think of women that you hold in this light!)
It's easy to read those verses and pick out what doesn't apply to our lives. Maybe we don't have these traits, maybe we want to jump on the traits our husbands don't have (assuming we even have husbands). That isn't the point – the point is who we are as women. As mothers. As friends. As neighbors. As caregivers. As businesswomen. As homemakers. Maybe we don't have any of the traits!!! Maybe we immediately think, "What a crazy woman!" But I try to imagine a beautiful "woman" "lady" (grin) on her knees at the end of the day, busy in her kitchen at the beginning of the day…and I'm sure she had the same feelings as us when we are tired…but don't you love her example? This to me is the epitome of what I see when I picture "lady" – a woman who stands tall, takes care of herself, her family, and strives to work on her inner life. It doesn't hurt us to keep examples of who we want to have as our models before us. I hope that you don't find that proverb intimidating, as that is easy to do, but rather, find it as an encouragement…striving to get up early, stay up late, and be the women that God created us to be.
I hope you have a week that gives you pride for who you are working on being…inwardly…that you do not fear the future, but strive to be the best you can be and take what comes your way…as a challenge…as a gift…as the life you were given. Get on your knees, look to the heavens. God is there. The peace that passes your understanding is right there. A promise. Thank you so much for your notes, your business, and your friendship. Go make yourself proud with the decisions that you make today, regardless of anyone else ever knowing you made them. I hope I'm working when you come in, but again, if I'm not, thank you so much from us. Hang in there – I promise spring is coming! Susan
A Beautiful Mind – Singulare ingenium
A Beautiful Soul – Apertus animus
A Beautiful Woman – Pulchra mulier or Bellum cor