Sunday, May 14, 2006


My parents just left to return to their home in the mountains of North Carolina. It was so nice to spend part of Mother's Day with my mom and own children. And my husband and dad too, of course. It has been one of those days when you look around and think, "My cup runneth over."

My mom gave me the 50th anniversary edition of Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She read the book forty years ago, and now she is giving it to her two daughters. Here is an excerpt from what I have read so far:

"For to be a woman is to have interests and duties, raying out in all directions from the central mothercore, like spokes from the hub of a wheel. The pattern of our lives is essentially circular, We must be open to all points of the compass; husband, children, friends, home, community; stretched out, exposed, sensitive like a spider's web to each breeze that blows, to each call that comes. How difficult for us, then, to achieve a balance in the midst of these contradictory tensions, and yet how necessary for the proper functioning of our lives. How much we need, and how arduous of attainment is that steadiness preached in all rules for holy living. How desirable and how distant is the ideal of the contemplative, artist or saint—the inner inviolable core, the single eye."


Blogger burning moon said...

I read this and I thought, how much women put upon themselves,

this need to be all things to all people.

I'm not sure whether the premis is wrong, or whether there is something intrinsic to being human that makes us interpret and apply it badly, but I have so long observed and deplored the competition I see among women. The vying to be supermom, the stories of childbirth and mothering that so often seem to be told with the desire to outdo or 'one up' the other women listening.

I want to question why we should feel this need to be the perfect wife, mother, human being? Doesn't the holding of a perfect model involve us automatically in competiton with each other and judging each other better or worse than ourselves?
Can we not simply embrace each other's different approaches and differing ideas of what is important and what is the ideal?

Maybe I've taken this the wrong way, but I've certainly seen a lot of evidence of this sort of attitude among women of my acquaintance.


12:26 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

You are so right moon. This book was written 50 years ago but much of it still holds true - there is the expectation to be super-mom/woman. Maybe this is put on by the self, but I don't think entirely, society expects women to take their baggage into their gains. What the book is getting into now is to let go of at least some of that baggage, and to find solitude and a way to center yourself. Take time off from your day, week, year . . . I'll post another excerpt soon.

7:04 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Pris said...

This looks like such a god book. Anything that helps encourage us to be ourselves!!

And your folks live in the N.C. mountains? I spent a lot of time there summers growing up. Are they anywhere near Black Mountain? It's a small town east of Ashville by about an hour or so.

9:53 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Yes Pris - to be our unperfect selves . . .

My parents live south of Asheville in Flat Rock - it is beautiful and I can't wait to visit again this summer!

7:04 PM, May 15, 2006  

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