Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Influence of Madeleine L'Engle


“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”

~Madeleine L’Engle

     When I was 10 I had a young teacher in her second year of teaching who was a free spirit.  This was a new and different experience for me, as most of my teachers were elderly.  Some of her procedures were very inappropriate, but she influenced my life forever by reading aloud A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.  We would sit mesmerized every day after lunch as she read one chapter.  It was as if I held my breath each day until the next chapter would reveal what happened.  When Charles Wallace finally was saved by Meg's love I was astounded at the thought of that concept.  It completely caught me off guard.
     As much as I loved the book, it was really the entire influence of Madeleine L'Engle that shaped my perceptions.  The parts of the book where beings sing praise to God come to mind so often when I sing in church that I fear Madeleine even shaped my perception of heaven.
     Later I read Meet the Austins and those books made me realize that being a teenager may not be an easy thing.  Most of the books at that time still talked about being 'pinned' and Saturday nights being picked up by a date.  L'Engle's books portrayed a world where a character met a troubled, even annoying boy and yet was drawn to him in an inexplicable way.  This was something I definitely could relate to.
      In recent years I have read her journals about her life, only to be disappointed to hear they weren't exactly nonfiction.  I forgive her, who would want to air all of the hurts and disappointments of reality? Any one should be able to understand coloring their world in a more flattering way, writing about life as we dream it could be, not as it actually is.  It is sad to hear how she may have been in denial about her husband, and also her son.  But she made their lives a thing of beauty in her mind, perhaps that was a comfort to her.
     Last summer I was able to read some of her very first books, and enjoyed her love for classical music that inspired me to listen to some of the songs mentioned online.  No matter what her faults may have been, she is a wonderful mentor in appreciating culture, the arts, science, astronomy, and in her admiration of others brilliance and the glory of God.

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