A Gift From The Sea

As Life Ebbs & Flows Are You Patient?

A great phone conversation with a colleague and friend got me thinking about where we are in our lives and all the changes we are experiencing.

A connection on LinkedIn got me thinking about the beach…

The beach is truly my favorite place.

The smell of the ocean.

Crashing waves.

I am at peace when I am on a beach. I am patient.

In fact, A Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh is one of my favorite books.

This beautiful book is about the beach, it’s calm and how Anne leaves her family. She goes to Captiva, Florida, rents a beach bungalow and writes this poignant book.

I used this book as the premise for my college graduation speech.

Anne says;

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.

In my speech, I told my classmates to not rush through life, enjoy each moment and be PATIENT with yourself. What is so ironic… is that I STILL do not have the patience I need with myself and where I am in my life. WHY?

I live life with a sense of urgency. Going from one moment or task to the next. I’m working hard every day to LIVE in the moment.

Anne uses the shells she finds on the beach to explain each of the stages of our lives, and talks of the relationships, struggles and joys she encounters. Anne talks of wanting to succeed at living life with grace. Living with grace is hard because life is messy and complicated. “I want a singleness of eye, purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.” She goes on to say, “By grace, I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.” Anne understood a women’s need to have time alone to recharge and find peace.

Many women struggle with balancing their needs with those they care for: Spouse, children, family, friends, job. There is a lot of juggling. To remain at peace and feel fulfilled is hard. I have needs but feel guilty putting them before my children and husband. If I don’t though, resentment creeps in like a serpent and rears its ugly head. I lead a few lives. One as a wife, a mother, daughter, friend, colleague and a public relations business owner. I strive to live with grace.

Those that know me well, understand the great lengths I go to, to make the balance work. It’s very, very important to me. Time alone with my husband is crucial to our marriage. I need time with my children, my parents/brother, my friends; each segment of my life. This keeps me in the flow I need. It’s never perfect, but it works.

As we get older, our lives change, our needs change, and responsibilities ebb and flow.

Just like the ocean.

Are YOU patient with yourself?

How has your life changed as you have gone through its many changes? Do you strive to live with grace?

Tell me. I want to know your story…


Jennifer McGinley
Jennifer McGinleyhttp://[email protected]
Jennifer McGinley, CEO of JLM Strategic Communications, based in the Baltimore/DC Metro area, helps individuals and organizations increase their connections, visibility, and credibility through strategic and effective public relations programs. Connect with Jennifer via her social media links above.

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  1. I want patience and I want it now!! Great article Jennifer. I could not agree more with Anne when she says, “By grace, I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.” I’ve volunteered in a faith-based recovery program for years and one thing we always stressed with our leadership is to not neglect their own recovery…time alone…prayer…..recharging; without it, we’re no good to anyone. In the past my peace was a slave to circumstances; now God is with me when the storms come (as they inevitably do). Thanks to Him, I’m a better husband, father and friend. Thanks for sharing – and Merry Christmas!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post, Jennifer, thank you. It brought back many memories and made me pause to think. I love the lakes and the oceans and often times I have contemplated o what these majestic bodies of water want to teach me.

    One of the more important lesson for me was one of ceasing to strive against change. The constant change of the ocean erases all that came before. Even the seemingly permanent bottom will one day become a cliff face and then erode down to become beach.

    “We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” – Mother Theresa

    Our Life is like the sea – it moves us, shapes us, supports us, and awakens us to new shores. And ultimately, life teaches us to be like water ourselves – strong yet calm, steady yet yielding, subtle yet beautiful.

    Above all the ocean teaches us is this – we are all connected. Everything we do echoes into the universe, and even the smallest changes can build into positive life momentum.

  3. Lovely article, Jennifer. I love your message. My wife and I used to live in a city by the name of Long Beach which was a few miles east of New York City. Long Beach was known as the city by the sea as the ocean was right there. The sun shining over the water, the moon reflecting over the water, the clean sand, the seashells with sounds of the sea, the little birds that used to follow us as we walked along the edge where the sand ended and the water began. Thank you for these precious memories that you brought back to life.

  4. Jennifer, great read. Over the years God has brought and taught me humility, wisdom, and grace. It did not come all at once, but I am blessed that it finally did. The sea is a creation of the depth of God’s mercy and the things that we do in life for others in a kind and charitable way to help us balance the world we live in. Thank you for this enlightening article. I had not read any of yours in the but will be on the lookout.

  5. Jennifer this is so, so wonderful. I think it’s easy, as solopreneuers, to get caught up in the comparison game and then feel like you’re always behind where you “should” be. Someone else is always going to have more “likes,” there is always something else you could add to your bag of tricks (blog, podcast, do interviews, write articles, engage with every piece, tag everyone on the planet, the list never ends!). I’ve found that it’s really important to get clear about what my heart is telling me and remind myself that I’m not crafting a career, or a platform, but a life. That every action, every choice impacts the whole. For me, making choices about the whole of my life changes everything. It’s what makes way for patience.

  6. Well, Jennifer, I’m not sure I’m living with grace, but yes. How I live has changed over the years; how could it not?

    I live more deliberately now — because I can. I know why I chose this tiny cottage on the bay (no crashing waves, though; ours are more akin to wavelets), with seagulls swooping, ducks diving, and cormorants hanging their wings out to dry. The entire village area called to me, and I responded.

    I’m living MY life, no one else’s, and as you wrote: Women often struggle to balance others’ needs, which is both commendable … and not. It’s fine when they can also fit their own needs in the crazy schedules, but too often they don’t. I lived that life ages ago; so many women AND men do.


    Totally different and I’m loving it!