I was lucky enough to meet Madeleine L’Engle several years ago at a booksigning. I loved her books so much as a child that even though I was well into my twenties I went just to meet her.
Her passing brings me such sadness. Her joyful mix of religion and science and supernatural made her books treasured classics among many. She wrote over 60 books in her lifetime and won many awards including the National Humanities Medal.
Some teen reviews:
Selected Madeleine L’Engle Quotations (from About.com)
• Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth.
• You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.
• Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.
• We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.
• Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling.
• A book comes and says, “Write me.” My job is to try to serve it to the best of my ability, which is never good enough, but all I can do is listen to it, do what it tells me and collaborate.
• That’s the way things come clear. All of a sudden. And then you realize how obvious they’ve been all along.
• We tend to think things are new because we’ve just discovered them.
• We tend to defend vigorously things that in our deepest hearts we are not quite certain about. If we are certain of something we know, it doesn’t need defending.
• I share Einstein’s affirmation that anyone who is not lost on the rapturous awe at the power and glory of the mind behind the universe “is as good as a burnt out candle.”
• Infinity is present in each part. A loving smile contains all art. The motes of starlight spark and dart. A grain of sand holds power and might.
• The world of science lives fairly comfortably with paradox. We know that light is a wave, and also that light is a particle. The discoveries made in the infinitely small world of particle physics indicate randomness and chance, and I do not find it any more difficult to live with the paradox of a universe of randomness and chance and a universe of pattern and purpose than I do with light as a wave and light as a particle. Living with contradiction is nothing new to the human being.
• Truth is eternal. Knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them.
• Conversion for me was not a Damascus Road experience. I slowly moved into an intellectual acceptance of what my intuition had always known.
• I do not think that I will ever reach a stage when I will say, “This is what I believe. Finished.” What I believe is alive … and open to growth.
• If it can be verified, we don’t need faith…. Faith is for that which lies on the other side of reason. Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys.
• What I believe is so magnificent, so glorious, that it is beyond finite comprehension. To believe that the universe was created by a purposeful, benign Creator is one thing. To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason. It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians who try to dogmatize their fear by lashing out at other Christians, because tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God’s love, a love we don’t even have to earn.
• We have much to be judged on when he comes, slums and battlefields and insane asylums, but these are the symptoms of our illness and the result of our failures in love.
• In the evening of life we shall be judged on love, and not one of us is going to come off very well, and were it not for my absolute faith in the loving forgiveness of my Lord I could not call on him to come.
• Those who believe they believe in God but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself.
• Deepest communion with God is beyond words, on the other side of silence.
• I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.
• So I go to church, not because of any legalistic or moralistic reasons, but because I am a hungry sheep who needs to be fed; and for the same reason that I wear a wedding ring: a public witness of a private commitment.
• 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.
• We’re afraid to be human because if we’re human we might get hurt.
• Are anybody’s parents typical?
• It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.
• The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
• I like the fact that in ancient Chinese art the great painters always included a deliberate flaw in their work: human creation is never perfect.
• A life lived in chaos is an impossibility.
• Because you’re not what I would have you be, I blind myself to who, in truth, you are.
Elsewhere on the Web: Resources for Madeleine L’Engle
Madeleine L’Engle Collection – Wheaton College