Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two-Part Invention...

Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle is a favorite book of mine. It is just part of the story of her life.. her love story. She tells about her single life in Manhattan in the 1940's until the time that she met and married her sweetheart and she tells snippets of her marriage with him for over forty years until he dies from cancer. Her view of marriage and her faith are beautiful. Her words hold life, even the bad stuff, as sacred and it is inspiring.
I picked it up yesterday and ended up reading it cover to cover. I read it when I was first married and to read it again different things stand out. I could relate so much to this passage on page 156:
"As soon as Bion, our baby, was in nursery school, I dropped out of the group of mothers who occasionally gathered together to drink coffee and gossip. This was writing time. Nobody else needed writing time. And I felt that I was looked at askance because I spent so much time at the typewriter and yet couldn't sell what I wrote. I certainly wasn't pulling my weight financially.
In my journal I wrote: 'There is a gap in understanding between me and our friends and acquaintances. I can't quite understand a life without books and study and music and pictures and a driving passion. And they, on the other hand, can't understand why I have to write, why I am a writer. When for instance, I say to someone that have to get home to work, the assumption is that I mean housecleaning or ironing, not writing a book. I'm very kindly permitted to be a writer but not to take time pursuing my trade. Nor can they understand the importance of music or why an hour with a Mozart sonata at the piano is not wasted time but time spent on real value. Or really listening, without talking, to music. Or going for a walk simply to see the beauty around one, or the real importance of a view from a window.'"
I have quite a few friends who understand the importance of books and of the need for constant learning, but not enough. When conversation comes around to the latest pop-cultural news sensation, I find that people are speaking Greek to me and I simply don't care. Fewer of my friends understand my desire to paint for hours at a time (I'm grateful for those that really do)and the solitude that requires. When I say that I must paint, most people assume it's a wall. Maybe someday my art will be profitable, maybe it won't, but I feel compelled to paint all the same. It's not something I can turn off.
I will paint and I will read. I have a great desire to know history and to read the finest literature. I want to make great music a part of my life every day. I aspire to be a culteral snob.. never to settle for the slop purveyed to the masses as art everyday, but to search for what is fine.. what is best.
I love these verses of Mormon scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants 88:78-80 which read:
"Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms--
That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called, you and the mission with which I have commissioned you."
In order for us to be who we were meant to be.. wise and smart and capable of good judgment and good reason.. even after achieving great formal education, there is still so much to learn. To learn requires time.