Written during a beach vacation in the early 1950s, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea is a series of thoughtful essays about what it means to be a woman in the modern world. My three favorite essays, “Double-Sunrise, “Oyster Bed,” and “Argonauta” reveal important truths about the journey through love and motherhood toward transcendence.
In the beginning of a romantic relationship, two separate but matching halves make a complete, entire world to themselves. It is the nature of romantic and sexual love that two become united as one. New couples often want to spend all of their time together, content with each others’ company alone.
The double-sunrise kind of love is a beautiful one, but it can’t—and shouldn’t—last. Powerful love naturally moves outward, into families and communities. The world of the double-sunrise “is a small world, that must be inevitably and happily outgrown.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote that “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” The beginnings of a romantic relationship lead to marriage and shared involvement in home, family, and community. The years of oyster shell love (which I’m only just beginning) aren’t pretty, symmetrical, or simple—but oyster shell love works.
Like the double-sunrise kind of love, oyster shell love cannot last forever. (Frankly, as much as I’m learning to love my life now, I wouldn’t want it to.) When life empties a woman’s home, she and her partner have the chance for a new kind of love.
The argonauta takes its name from Jason’s ship on his mythological quest for the Golden Fleece. And the relationship Lindbergh describes here is itself like the Golden Fleece—tantalizing but almost elusive. At the end of courtship, marriage, and family a couple has the chance for something beautiful: a loving relationship based in contentment and peace.
Want to win a copy of Gift from the Sea? Leave a comment by Tuesday, February 27 for a chance to win a print of Kindle eBook copy. (Your choice!) Keep following along with Twelve Months to a Better Woman and February, our Month of Self-Reflection. Be sure to check out the first post in this series to get involved.