I am reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh book, War Within and Without. It is the last of her “diary/journal/memoir” five part series of books starting with her flight adventures with aviator husband Charles continuing through the kidnap, death and publicity craziness and grief of their first born son, then their living in England and France in “exile” to escape the prying eyes and now settling back in the states at the beginning of WWII when Europe is engaging into war.
It is a fascinating look into the mindset of Americans during this period of history (the time before America entered the war), especially as Anne writes as the history is unfolding, almost in a “real time” viewpoint all the while we are reading it knowing the outcome of history. While Lindbergh has been vilified at times and definitely found with feet of clay (a decade or so ago it was disclosed of his three mistresses and their collective families). It is an honest look at a flawed hero and heroine of our time.
I am finding many parallels to our current political situation and while it is alarming (we as a society should take note), it is also comforting in knowing that if things should happen again we can prevail.
One light hearted anecdote occurs early on in the memoir. Anne is describing a delightful weekend that Charles and she experienced with a French diplomat. Anne, who was the interpreter for Charles and the guest thoroughly enjoyed the visit as this gentleman asked questions of her too, as a writer and about mutual books. The intellectual exercise in their discourse and discussions was enjoyed by all three of them.
At one point in the recounting, Anne says that all three of them were having a deep and lively discussion as they were driving from one location to another. The car suddenly stopped. The reason- out of gas. Charles had forgotten to fill up before they took off!
Anne doesn’t elaborate too much only that it was astonishing for Charles to be so unprepared and only underscored how intrigued he was in their discussions. After all, aviator Charles A. Lindbergh was the king supreme of the check-list. In fact, the preflight checks that are standard with airplanes were designed by Charles. He had checklists for everything. Even his discussions with his children and their goals and plans were kept in checklist form on index cards.
Just goes to show you that to ere is human.
I enjoy hearing about human foibles. Not for the purpose of gloating but more for the purpose of identity: we are all in the same boat and we are all in the position of needing humility. Any human who seems “perfect” is not. Just look at the news and the darling of yesterday is the scourge of tomorrow.
I also am encouraged when I hear that even planners forget to plan and that even the best laid plans can go awry. It is another way of remaining humble: we may carefully plan situations but most often they may take another turn. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t plan what we can. It is just that we need to be open to whatever turns the plans may take.
The Bible has many verses talking about acknowledging plans and asking for guidance:
“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper and not to harm you.” Jeremiah 29:11
“Ask and it will be given you” Matthew 5; 7
Although I think many people might view these verses as “ask the genie in the bottle”/fairy-godmother type verse. God is not like that. He is powerful and almighty and deserves and expects reverence. The thing is, His plans are the best. In our limited viewpoint, we sometimes think that we know the best for ourselves. After all, isn’t that what all the self-help books are about- the individual helping his/herself? Not that there isn’t good information in those type of books. It is just that while we are to “know thyself”, we need to rely on the One who created us and His knowing of ourselves.
I sometimes need to be reminded that it is in the spirit of humility when I ask, then I receive. When I trust, I do not worry about harm.
Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Proverbs 16:19 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
Proverbs 3: 5,6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
What about you? Are you a planner? Do you have trouble relinquishing control of your life? Have you ever had an incident where the very thing for which you are known, you negatively experienced? (Like planner Lindbergh running out of gas?) How did that play out? Was it embarrassing? Did you laugh it off as another humbling incident?
I have recently taken Proverbs 19:21 to heart. While I have many plans in my heart- for myself, family and friends- I recognize that God’s purpose will prevail. And I choose that.