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The Passing of Madeleine L’Engle

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I was very saddened to learn Friday afternoon of the passing of one of the greatest American authors of all time, Madeleine L’Engle. Not only did she write wonderful novels–from fantasy to young adult romance to adult fiction–she was also a prolific poet and essayist.

If you have never read her compilation of essays on being a Christian artist, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, you should go on or down to your local bookstore or library and get it immediately. I was assigned to read it for an undergraduate creative writing class seven years ago . . . and it’s one of the few writing books that I continually pull off my shelf whenever I need inspiration or to renew my creative spirit.

Though I’ve already pulled a few passages to read from it this morning, I think it’s fitting to eulogize her in her own words from Walking on Water, written in June, 1980:

    “I am mortal, flawed, trapped in my own skin, my own barely-used brain. I do not understand this death, but I am learning to trust it. Only through this death can come the glory of resurrection; only through this death can come birth.
    “And I cannot do it myself. It is not easy to think of any kind of death as a gift, but it is prefigured for us in the mighty acts of Creation and Incarnation; in Crucifixion and Resurrection.
    “You are my helper and redeemer; make no long tarrying, O my God.”

Rest in the arms of the Savior, dear Madeleine.

For more on her life and writings, see this New York Times article.

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