I’m really tired tonight. I was invited to attend a meeting as a “seasoned homeschooling mom” (ha, ha!) for a local group called the Holistic Moms Network. It felt just like La Leche League all over again, only this time I didn’t have my nursing toddler in tow, and I could smile at the younger moms and assure them that those littles grow up astonishingly fast. I had a very good time, except for not getting my info straight on which end of town the meeting was being held, and feeling very foolish about walking in late … but even that worked out.
Anyway, a few days ago I picked up my copy of Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art by Madeleine L’Engle (author of A Wrinkle in Time and other wonderful speculative fiction stories not just for children) and started working my way through it again. I came across this and just had to share:
What if–the basis of all story. The small child asks all the what ifs. All of life is story, story unravelling and revealing meaning. Despite our inability to control circumstances, we are given the gift of being free to respond to them in our own way, creatively or destructively. As far as we know, even the higher animals … do not have this consciousness, not necessarily selfconscious, but consciousness of having a part in the story.
And the story involves what seems to the closed mind to be impossible–another reason for disbelieving it. But, as Christians, we may choose to live by most glorious impossibilities. Or not to live, which is why in the churches, by and large, the impossibles, the Annunciation and the Transfiguration and walkings on water and raisings from the dead, are ignored or glossed over.
I see my young friends groping back toward a less restricted view of time and space, though sometimes in frighteningly faddish ways. True contemplation is sought through drugs, which can never produce it. Seances and trips in the astral body are on the increase, and the church condemns and draws back. But if we do not offer a groping generation the real thing, they will look for it elsewhere, or, they will fall, as George Tyrrell observed, for the garbage of any superstition.
It is not easy for me to be a Christian, to believe twenty-four hours a day all that I want to believe. I stray, and then my stories pull me back if I listen to them carefully. I have often been asked if my Christianity affects my stories, and surely it is the other way around; my stories affect my Christianity, restore me, shake me by the scruff of the neck, and pull this straying sinner into an awed faith.
Ahh, yes. That is the essence of being a writer who’s also a Christian.