I'd like to share with you a selection from the book, Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. For those of you who don't know, Anne Morrow Lindbergh was the wife of Charles Lindbergh and a pioneering aviator in her own right. She was also an author and environmentalist. She wrote Gift from the Sea while on a beach vacation. It was first published in 1955. What she wrote more than fifty years ago somehow still rings true:
Distraction is, always has been, and probably always will be, inherent in woman's life.
For to be a woman is to have interests and duties, raying out in all directions from the central mother-core, 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 the 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.
With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions. The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationship with their myriad pulls -- woman's normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.
As the new year approaches, I'm reflecting on the past twelve months and looking forward to the next twelve. Finding time for all that has to be done and what I'd like to do is a delicate balancing act. How do you do it? How do you find balance in your life?