Pop out of bed, hit the NYTimes, and the first headline (top of the most popular, most e-mailed articles) is news of Madeleine L\’Engle\’s death. She\’s been my favorite author since I read my first L\’Engle book, The Arm of The Starfish, at the age of 8.
It was her writing that kept me from becoming completely anti-religion as a teenager, that made (and makes) me admit that while I might not believe in Jesus or God, I believe in the old Christian concepts of love, forgiveness, faith, hope, and support.
It was her writing, particularly once I dropped out of school, that gave me a lot of first exposure to certain scientific and philosophic concepts.
It was her writing that made me want to write.
“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.
“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”
Jane Jacobs last year, Madeleine L\’Engle yesterday, my grandfather in a few months. (Grandfathers always played a particularly formative role in L\’Engle YA books, too.)
I often hear grief described as an empty feeling, but when I feel what I would consider to be grief, it feels like a full, even spilling over feeling. Like a lot of water trying to pass through a small half-tube, but like in New Orleans in August of 2005, there\’s too much water for such a small space, so it passes up and over the sides until there\’s no sight of where the sides were.
I suspect this feeling right now is more about my grandfather than L\’Engle, but that\’s okay, too. When the time comes, I\’ll reread my battered copy of A Ring of Endless Light and make peace. But not yet. There\’s still some months to go.