Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Coffee with Madeleine

Madeleine L'Engle was one of my favorite authors growing up. As I devoured her stories, I would insert my own character into them and make up new adventures with Meg and Charles Wallace, with Vicki and Zachary. Her skeleton of quantum physics gave my world a structure and power that finally made sense, and explained my impossible reality.

Then I heard her "adult" books were "Christian". I still rigidly tied Christ together with the Church, and wanted both of them as far away from me as possible. Rather than taste for myself, I trusted my intellect (bad move!) and moved on to other authors.

Perhaps, had I trusted her enough to follow through uncomfortable places, I could have short-cut my own journey by 17 years.

Mama D. gave me 3 of Madeleine's books for Christmas. She is my brother's mother in law. Does that make her my mother in law in law? Any rate, January's stolen moments with Madeleine are bringing delight, recognition-- and challenge.

She reminds me so of my Grandmother. Granny was still of the "children should be seen and not heard" camp when I was growing up, and my ubersensitive personality inflated that and carried into young adulthoood before she died. Yet after death, she affects me daily more powerfully than ever in life. I wish I'd been smart-loving-brave-presumptuous-WHATEVER enough to chase that down while still she lived. A powerful woman, a powerful Christian-- but that which I now see as worth pursuing chased me off as a child.

So too it is with Madeleine. I mourned her death but now she's with me as I ponder, or recognize myself in her words, or snarf coffee out my nose in hilarity.

I wish I hadn't wasted so much time. I wish I knew enough then to grab hold of what I know is important now. Bu I am sooo grateful that long after their deaths, these two extraordinary women are still dancing in my life.

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