Lady vs. Woman – Journals of Anne Lindbergh and Proverbs 31. (Mar. 2009)

Susan's Thursday morning note March 12, 2009 
“Lady” vs. “Woman” 
The Flower and the Nettle.  Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1936-1939.  
Proverbs 31.

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!)

Proverbs 31:
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.  Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.
She makes her own bedspreads.  She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. 
She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
Reward her for all she has done.
let her deeds publicly declare her praise.  

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

Latin for this week:
A Beautiful Heart -Cor affabile
A Beautiful Mind - Singulare ingenium
A Beautiful Soul - Apertus animus
A Beautiful Woman - Pulchra mulier or Bellum cor

Works Cited:
Lindbergh, Anne.  The Flower and the Nettle.  Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1936-1939.  1976.  Harcourt Brace.  New York.