Monday, November 29, 2010

Literary Day of Days: Celebrating Madeleine L'Engle

I went back into my archives to find where I first coined the phrase "literary day of days" to describe today, November 29. It was this post, back in 2006, the first year I kept this blog.

I really do love the fact that I get to celebrate a trio of such incredible authors of my heart in one day: Madeleine, Jack and Louisa. This year, I thought I'd sprinkle celebration snippets throughout the day.

First up: Madeleine. It would be her 92nd birthday today, and I can just imagine the sort of feasting her family and friends must be doing in her honor! I personally hope she has a front-row seat for some Bach today in heaven...

Glimpses of Grace, the book of Madeleine's thoughts and reflections edited by Carole Chase, has a beautiful quote today. In it, Madeleine talks about aging, all the ways in which our bodies begin to weary and break down, reminding us that "chronos is not merely illusion." As I reflect on recent days spent with our parents, growing older in ways that suddenly seem so swift, and on my own increasing awareness of physical limitations (even in smaller ways) these words resonate with me more than ever:

"There is nothing I can do to stop the passage of the kind of time in which we human beings are set. I can work with it rather than against it, but I cannot stop it. I do not like what it is doing to my body. If I live as long as many of my forbears, these outward diminishments will get worse, not better. But these are outward signs of chronology, and there is another Madeleine who is untouched by them, the part of me that lives forever in kairos and bears God's image."

Thank you, Madeleine.

For all of you embarking on the celebration of Advent, you might also be delighted to know there's a new edition of The Twenty-Four Days of Christmas out this year. It has new illustrations by Jill Weber. I still love my hardback copy illustrated by Joe DeVelasco, but I'd be interested to see this one -- and am thinking of getting it for the sweet girl, so she can have a copy of her very own. We read it together every year. (The link on the title is to a review I wrote of the book back in 2004, when she was just two and a half. Talk about the swiftness of chronology!)


Erin said...

What a great quote from her. I'd forgotten we were coming up on this day; it is indeed very cool that those three are connected like that. Wonderful authors all!

Beth said...

Yes indeed! I remember being so excited when I realized all three had a birthday on the same day. I knew it about Lewis and L'Engle for a while, but it was only a few years back I stumbled onto the Alcott connection!