Friday, June 5, 2009
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time has been one of my favorite books, since the 4th grade, if not before. My mother read it aloud to me when I was much younger, for it is one of her favorite books as well. I have read the book at least once every year since the 4th grade, and I own three copies of it: my mom's original paperback copy, my older sister's paperback copy, and my own hardback copy. Ender's Game is also one of my favorite books, but it will never be able to take A Wrinkle in Time's place in my heart for one very good reason. I am Meg Murray.
I don't mean that literally. I was not even alive when Madeleine L'Engle wrote her book, so I could not have been the inspiration. However, when I read A Wrinkle in Time I find that Meg Murray and I are ridiculously similar. Every time I read it I find different ways that I am like Madeleine L'Engle's protagonist.
In middle school I felt a connection with Meg because we were both awkward, not pretty girls with glasses and braces. I felt like the outcast she was. Granted, I never got into fights with boys or was called to the principal's office for being smart mouthed in class, but I could relate to her feeling of not belonging. Meg looked at her mother and saw someone beautiful, successful, and brilliant and wondered how she could be the offspring of such a woman. I looked at my older sister, who was popular, had a string of beaus, and was a girly-girl and wondered how we could possibly be related. I felt like I did not belong in the same room as her, not to mention the same family.
Now that I'm older, not so awkward, ridiculously beautiful (at least - in God's eyes), feel comfortable with glasses, and lost my braces, this connection is not quite the same it had once been. I still feel the outcast sometimes, but now when I read A Wrinkle in Time I feel a different connection.
At work today I was listening to A Wrinkle in Time on my iPod to combat the silence. It's great to listen to because I've read it so many times that I don't have to listen. It's just background noise but then when I need a distraction and hear the phrase "Really Mrs. Which you might have killed us", I know exactly what's going on (Mrs. Which tried to tesser them onto the 2D planet, forgetting that the children are well...3D). It's really quite pleasant.
As I was half listening and trying to get my work done, I was reminded of another way Meg and I are similar. We want everyone else to solve our problems for us. If you are not familiar with the story you may have a hard time understanding, so let me explain. Meg Murray is a middle school girl who is swept away on an adventure with her little brother, Charles Wallace, and a friend, Calvin O'Keefe, to save Meg's father who was been missing for over a year. The people who swept her away on this adventure are Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. They are not quite people, more like angels, and they take the children on an adventure into space.
Meg expects these three somewhat heavenly beings to solve her problems for her. She expects them to take her to her father and save everything. She expects them to set her life right. So when the three ladies drop her and her friends off on a strange planet, where they say her father is, she is quite distressed that they weren't going to solve all of her problems for her. However, she still has Calvin and her genius little brother. She expects they will be able to find her father and set everything right.
However, they aren't able to. Charles Wallace, in a sincere but arrogant move, gets essentially possessed by the enemy. Meg is left only with Calvin, who she pleads with to save Charles Wallace. Calvin, however, is unable to reach Charles Wallace because he doesn't know the little boy that well. Calvin and Meg do manage to get to Meg's father, and Meg expects her father to be able to sweep in and save Charles Wallace. However, last time Mr. Murray was home Charles Wallace wasn't even talking yet. The man doesn't know his son well enough to save him. Calvin and Meg escape the planet with her father, but at the cost of her precious little brother.
Meg is furious. The three heavenly beings weren't able to save Charles Wallace. Calvin wasn't able to save Charles Wallace. Even her father, her dear father who she had been pining after since he disappeared, was not able to save Charles Wallace. Meg was expecting everyone else to save him, and no one else could. This is when she realizes that only she can save Charles Wallace. Knowing its her dear baby brother's only chance, Meg goes back to the enemy planet alone - without Calvin, without her father, without the three ladies. Alone, she must save Charles Wallace or get taken in by the evil herself.
I expect everyone else to solve my problems for me. Meg and I are the same in this respect. I get frustrated when my parents can't give me the advice I need on my career path, because they don't know. I don't want to take risks and try to do it myself; I want them to tell me what to do. I want to give all my problems to God and let Him magically fix them, refusing to even contemplate that God gave me a brain to think with. Yes, He wants me to bring my problems to Him, but I don't think He wants me to treat Him like magic. God wants to give me peace and assurance, not solve my problems for me.
But I want Him to make my life easy, though He never promises that His path is easy.
I want someone to solve the problem for me, but then I realize that God made me to solve the problem, just like Madeleine L'Engle made Meg the only one who can save Charles Wallace.
I must save Charles Wallace. God wants to help me walk down the road in Camazotz. He might even direct me to go to IT instead of stopping at CENTRAL Central Intelligence. He will stand by as I face the evil IT, but He will not let me sit in the caring arms of Aunt Beast and magically bring Charles Wallace to me.
My problems are my problems. Others can help me. God can be there for me, and He is perfectly capable of divine intervention should He wish. But most of the time, He wants me to solve my problems. He wants me to stop expecting everyone else to fix it for me.
Meg alone can save Charles Wallace, and I alone can make the decisions that fix my problems.