Walking On Water by Madeleine L’Engle (A review)


Madeleine L’Engle is best known for her children’s fantasy series, A Wrinkle In Time and other works of fiction.  However, in this truly inspiring book, she writes her own reflections on her Christian faith and shares some of the background to her writing process of some of her novels.  Whether you are a writer or an actor or an illustrator or creative on another level, this book will speak to you.  On the other hand, if you are spiritually minded of any faith, this will enliven your faith and perhaps even inspire you to test your creative juices once more.  The author explains how we lose our child-like creativity, forgetting how to ‘walk on water.’  Madeleine shows us how faith and art intermingles when she writes, ‘I have often been asked if my Christianity affects my stories, and surely it is the other way around; my stories affect my Christianity….’   She also writes, ‘I learn that my feelings about art and my feelings about the creator of the universe are inseparable.  To try to talk about art and about Christianity is for me one and the same thing, and it means attempting to share the meaning of life, what gives it, for me, its tragedy and its glory.  It is what makes me respond to the death of an apple tree, the birth of a puppy, northern lights shaking the sky, by writing stories.’

Her reflections are beautifully and intellectually written yet not overly scholarly. In it, she quotes other famous (and not-so-famous) authors and thinkers.  Though less than 200 pages,  I found myself wanting to read this slowly, taking my time to savour all the ways it spoke to me.  I read and re-read passages and wrote them down in my journal to save for later.  It resonated on a deep level so that my spirit could only respond with a joyful, ‘YES!’  She is now top of my list in answer to the question, “If you could have anyone over for an evening of dinner and conversation whether dead or alive, who would you invite?”  I only wish I had attended one of her workshops or lectures when she was alive.  Her beauty shines through her words.


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