Beyond Time: 11 Quotes By Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle In Time, by Walt Disney Pictures (2018)

Editor's Note:

Who doesn’t love a good quote? For more like this, check out our quotations archive.

Due to the upcoming film by Ava DuVernay, everyone’s flocking to read (or re-read) A Wrinkle In Time, that psychedelic tweenage rite of passage written by Madeleine L’Engle back in ’62. It’s important to remember, however, that the adventures of Meg Murry and co. don’t just end there — her family’s adventures through time and space ripple outward across an entire quintet of science fantasy novels.

Beyond there, L’Engle wrote many other works of fiction and non-fiction alike, fusing her religious belief with her fascination with science to impart a unique view of life’s meaning and the potential of the human intellect.  The following sampler of quotes — presented the week of the author’s birthday, November 29th — are an introduction to the full gamut of her playfulness, her gravity, and her lifelong interest with everything that lies just beyond human comprehension.

“It was a dark and stormy night” is only the beginning…

A Circle of Quiet, 1971
“A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming.”

A Wrinkle in Time, 1962
“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.”

Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage, 1988
“Love of music, of sunsets and sea; a liking for the same kind of people; political opinions that are not radically divergent; a similar stance as we look at the stars and think of the marvelous strangeness of the universe – these are what build a marriage. And it is never to be taken for granted.”

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, 1972
“In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there’s no danger that we will confuse God’s work with our own, or God’s glory with our own.”

A Ring of Endless Light, 1980
“It’s hard to let go anything we love. We live in a world which teaches us to clutch. But when we clutch we’re left with a fistful of ashes.”

A Swiftly Tilting Planet, 1978
“Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind.”

The Small Rain, 1945
“It’s a strange thing, how you can love somebody, how you can be all eaten up inside with needing them–and they simply don’t need you. That’s all there is to it, and neither of you can do anything about it. And they’ll be the same way with someone else, and someone else will be the same way about you and it goes on and on–this desperate need–and only once in a rare million do the same two people need each other.”

An Acceptable Time, 1989
“Truth is eternal. Knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them.”

A Wind in the Door, 1973
“We tend to think things are new because we just discovered them.”

A Wrinkle in Time, 1962
“Only a fool is not afraid.”

A Ring of Endless Light, 1980
“…How shall we sing our love’s song now
In this strange land where all are born to die?
Each tree and leaf and star show how
The universe is part of this one cry,
Every life is noted and is cherished,
and nothing loved is ever lost or perished.”