Today I discovered that last Thursday Madeline L’Engle died. I was heartbroken. Madeline L’Engle was a great writer who was probably best known for her book “A Wrinkle in Time.”  This award winning book was a favourite for many young adults. She was a great witness to her faith and that was displayed in her writings. One of my favourite books when I was in seminary was ‘A Stone for My Pillow.’   In this book she explores her faith using the story of Jacob as a starting point. It is a great read. I can hardly believe that she is gone. She was 88 years of age and she had lived a great life of witness and was a proud example of faith – she was a great Anglican and she will be missed but her writings will last forever. She has left a legacy of good news and a stack of good books that bear witness to Jesus Christ and her faith in a loving and caring God.

 

In her book The Summer of the Great-grandmother she writes of her Grandmother: "She had that spontaneous quality of aliveness which illuminates people who have already done a lot of their dying, and I think I am beginning to understand the truth of that." I think those words accurately reflect Madeline’s life and witness. She would not have necessarily agreed with that statement and I am certain that while she could see those qualities in her Grandmother I am not so sure that she could identify them in herself. She was a very humble witness.  But the above quote well sums up who she is and who she has been for so many. So many who have done much of their spiritual dying have been illumined and enlivened by her writings. So many people have been able to move from the grief in their lives to a place of celebration of the resurrection because of her writing.  

 

Just the other day I went in search a quote that I had read a year or so ago from her writings. It was about expectations and about our sometimes false expectations of those around us. I found it that day and it have kept it in my computer so that each day I can refer to it as I think it is a healthy reminder for all of us. That day when I read that quote, Madeline L’Engle illumined me from some of my own spiritual dying.  Here is what she wrote about our relationships, friendships and the expecations we sometimes place on others and on what Jesus expects of us.

 

"We have false expectations of our holy days, of our churches, of each other. We have false expectations of our friends. Jesus did not. He had expectations, but they were not false, and when they were not met, he did not fall apart. He was never taken in by golden calves! Friendship not only takes time, it takes a willingness to drop false expectations, of ourselves, of each other. Friends–or lovers–are not always available to each other. Inner turmoils can cause us to be unhearing when someone needs us, to need to receive understanding when we should be giving understanding.

 

"We have false expectations of our holy days, of our churches, of each other. We have false expectations of our friends. Jesus did not. He had expectations, but they were not false, and when they were not met, he did not fall apart. He was never taken in by golden calves! Friendship not only takes time, it takes a willingness to drop false expectations, of ourselves, of each other. Friends–or lovers–are not always available to each other. Inner turmoils can cause us to be unhearing when someone needs us, to need to receive understanding when we should be giving understanding." 

 

The Music playing is a piece entitled “When it’s All Been Said and Done.” The question offered is, “Did I do by best to live for love, did I live my life for You?”  In Madeline’s case the answer is a resounding YES!