Saturday, January 14, 2012
Yesterday I introduced Grace Episcopal Church members to Madeleine L’Engle’s work. A few weeks ago, sipping tea at the Tai Chi and Tea day, I was the only person (a non-church member) to know who L L’Engle was. It was surprising that none of the Episcopalians knew this great spiritual writer. So yesterday at the church’s monthly Encore Luncheon I was the speaker.
Along with introducing the person (who was married to the Oklahoman who portrayed Dr. Charles Tyler on the long-running soap opera All My Children) and the writer, Newberry Award winner for her YA A Wrinkle in Time, I explained how I came to be a MLE reader. Sometimes the books we choose, along with the words we write, seem to be a produce of Divine Intervention.
How did I come to know MLE? She chased me down. When I came to town, I used the library and checked out Circle of Quiet, one of her early memoirs. I hated it and returned the book. A few years later, I took it home again and returned it. Then a third time the book glared out from the bio shelves, and I took it home again. This time I was enthralled with her story. The time was now ripe for me to read her words. The book deals with her years in Goshen, Connecticut when she was rearing her family, fine-tuning her faith, and writing. These were the years her Wrinkle in Time was rejected 28 times.
Then on a family vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine, I spied an independent book store. After the shops and viewing the clipper ships, I raced through the local book store while my kids moaned. It was a nice shop but ordinary, and I was moving through the aisles quickly due to family's pressures. Then I turned back from the end of an aisle, saw one lone book standing in an empty space on the wall. Curiosity drove me back, and it was Walking on Water; Reflections on Art and Faith by MLE. It must have been meant for me since it seemed to be calling my name. I bought the book without opening the covers and was finally launched into reading all this authors works.
I have been reading her ever since. I read all her genres, but poetry and fantasy are my least favorites. I enjoy her novels, but it is the memoirs and religious commentaries I love the best. She deals with many common themes, some which are:
Co-existence of God and science.
Brokenness and healing
Contemplations and listening prayer
Truth vs. Mystery
Love vs. Power
Human freedom and responsibility
Certainly there is much more to Madeleine L’Engle than even these topics. She can’t be reduced to a few lines in a few minutes. She said that Advent wasn’t just a season of waiting but one of listening. She calls us in her work remember to listen during the winter months. I think I had better add one of her books to my already mile high stack. She is good reading any season.
Is Miss M on your reading agenda?