Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage by Madeleine L’Engle
Several of my friends are going through rough times in their relationships. Marriages are breaking up, partners are changing careers or having to move, illness rears its ugly head, pregnancies develop complications. All of these can put strains on the bonds that tie two human being together.
I found myself turning to the pages of Madeleine L’Engle’s Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage in the midst of this turmoil Though critics and some of her family members have complained about the accuracy of some events and portrayals, the fact remains that I have always found the books created from fleshing out her journals to be thought-provoking and insightful. I journal myself and I know that when you capture words, events, thoughts and feelings onto pages, you can only see through your own perspective. This touching book deals with how she met her husband, grew with him, raised a family, juggled their careers and then lost him slowly to cancer at the age of 70. Whether or not it is glamourized or edited compared to what really happened in their relationship is not as important to me as gaining strength and inspiration from reading about how someone else wrestled with things.
Like many of L’Engle’s other books, Two-Part Invention is a blend of faith exploration, philosophical musings, biographical writing and self-examination. I have read and reread her work so many times that passages are underlined in different colours, leaving a rainbow tapestry of inspiration behind for the next visit. I was able to copy this passage out for a friend in the hopes that Madeleine’s words would bring comfort amid the trials and tribulations that my friend was enduring.
‘I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when the good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.’
I grew up reading most of L’Engle’s incredible, award-winning stories for children and young adults. It was comforting this time to turn to one of her nonfiction works, published the same year I was married to my own amazing husband, to find words from which I could draw strength to share with friends.
Paperback format, 232 pages, published in 1989 by Harper & Row