Madeleine L'Engle, a writer who brought magic to my childhood and depth to my adult spirituality, died Thursday at 88.
Her God-infused books -- including her most famous, "A Wrinkle in Time" -- opened my heart to wonder and my mind to intelligent wrestling with theology. Her passion for science complemented rather than contradicted her faith, making her a wonderful role model for a teenager who loved both.
I had the good fortune meet her in 1993 while attending a week-long conference she led at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and to interview her for the Viewpoint page. At one point we were talking about icons -- windows to God -- and whether stories could serve that purpose.
Q. Many people have found your stories to be icons. Do you set out to write them that way or does it just happen because of who you are and your relationship with God?
A. I listen. I have to listen to the angels. And sometimes they push me in places I don’t expect. My story line gets changed, characters come in. That’s part of the fun of it; it happens. I have a good idea where I want to go and what I want to say, because you have to start with something. And then things
happen, and that’s wonderful. I know I’m trying to serve God with the stories, and I’m trying to serve love. And I’m trying to help people be braver, to help myself be brave.
Only God knows if Madeleine L'Engle served God, but I feel certain that she served love. And I know without a doubt that she helped me be braver, especially about daring to peek into the immensity of the sacred.