A wrinkle in time. Sure, I’ve had one of those… okay, several of them. One fold happens when I look at the framed photo of my eighteen-month old curly-topped son hanging in my hallway. Then I realize he and I haven’t talked in three weeks. Oh yeah, he lives 2,500 miles from me and is thirty-five years old. My starz.
My wrinkles are not as remarkable as Madeleine L’Engle’s. Even though it was fun to remind my son of when I drove with he and his dad to Portland, Oregon when he was about four years old in order to hear Madeleine speak, he didn’t remember the trip or Madeleine L’Engle. However, it was a lovely reminder for me of the seats we had up in the curved balcony in a huge old church to see her, to hear her talk about her father’s health condition and her spending time as a little girl living in a castle in Europe. Remarkable is barely the beginning to describe her.
Ava DuVernay’s recent movie version of A Wrinkle in Time is worth seeing. It is as much about love, family, loyalty, community, belief in one’s self, and tenacity as it is about science fiction and interplanetary space travel.
In part, what launches A Wrinkle in Time is an inadvertent consequence, an unpredicted result to a pursued goal (Dr. Alex Murry, who is the main character, Meg’s father, achieves his goal of finding the tesseract and successfully tessering, however he gets trapped on a planet far away and cannot escape.) Oh my, I’ve had one or two of those unpredicted results. Haven’t you? Such as getting the promotion then getting transferred and having to leave all the co-workers who helped you get it and whom you trust. Or bringing your spouse with you to volunteer at the Food Bank, who then falls in love with one of the other volunteers, and a year later you find yourself divorced. I know, I know, “one door closes and another one opens;” and the ever popular “life presents us with opportunities for personal growth.” I do endorse those beliefs, it just takes me a little time to get back in the saddle.
In the three deleted pages from A Wrinkle in Time, released by her granddaughter in 2015, pages which the publisher perhaps thought too political or controversial, Ms. L’Engle talks about the dangers of pursuing security, that security is a seductive thing, and that the sick longing for it is a dangerous thing, and … insidious.
How are we manipulated by supervisors, credit card companies, politicians, retailers, spouses, neighbors, perhaps even our children, by their threatening our security or offering to enhance it? By dictators and autocrats? Yee gods, that list is endless and will continue to be so. Fascinating that Ms. L’Engle called this out in a conversation between a father and daughter. The father attempting to show his daughter a larger view, that questioning, exploring, and taking risks are what move us forward.
My regrets in life, the few I have, are related to what I did not do for my children. Sometimes it was that I did not set limits. My most lamentatious ones are when I did not protect them, or did not stand up for them. I was unable to de-stabilize my alleged security. In hindsight, I say alleged as it really wasn’t stable. With their dad, with my employer, with my sense of obligation to others, or that nebulous entity: what I thought others thought of me.
And another wrinkle – security and safety are not the same nor interchangeable.
None of that was within my grasp twenty-five years ago.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” Madeleine L’Engle.