Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tesser Well

There's Sarah at an end-of-season minor league baseball game. The girls went with Ryan. I don't think the Ems won, but the victory was still there.

I am thinking a lot this week about Madeleine L'Engle. The wrinkly time between my ninth birthday and now, nearly three decades later, when that great lady is now no longer on earth. I have wished to write to her for more than 20 years, for more time than I thought of myself as a writer. I have held out the letter-writing dream as some sort of icon of communication, of mentorship possibility. Every dog-eared book of hers I've collected through Powell's Bookstore and Ebay and hole-in-the-wall vacation spots, I've read with the undercurrent that her words expressed some inexplicable, some circle of quiet I sought and couldn't reach. Now that I know I can't correspond with my hero I am sobered to realize that the passing of the generations is real. Somewhere I read that she had been accused, gently, of too often appearing to be about to burst forth with greatness only to state the obvious. Oh, I wish I could state the obvious so sublimely, in such a way that others would be glad it had been said.

My oldest daughter is named after her; a little presumptious, possibly, but there are other great Madeleines too. I even gained parenting insight through another meditation of Ms. L'Engle's. She wrote at length and brilliantly about the appropriate use of icons. I came to see that my little Madeleine's much-loved teddy bear was nothing short of an icon for the stability of her world. That the bear represented all being right, Mommy and Daddy in the room, warmth and love and more. Who, then, could take away or wean a child from such an icon?

Everything is not alright with my world. I would love to have an icon of comfort and peace to remind me of God's goodness and grace. Of course there are many symbols of goodness, but I could really use something to hold on to.

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