Madeleine L’Engle:  Words - Truth & Integrity

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Excerpts are taken from Walking On Water by Madeleine L’Engle

Recently, as I was rereading Walking on Water, the following passages presented as of great importance for the times in which we live.  So I share some quotes for your reflection.  

“ He came home from the theatre one night with the script of a new play in which he had been offered a juicy role.  He gave it to me to read, and when I finished, I simply handed it back to him.  He nodded. ‘I wouldn’t want the kids to see me in this.  I’m not going to take it.’

We needed the money … Hugh needed the job.  But the criterion he used was:  Would I want the kids to see me in this? 

If he didn’t care about truth and integrity, what the kids saw him in wouldn’t matter.   . . .”

WORDS are important.  How we use WORDS is important.  And how we live, how we use “words” is choice.  We were given the gift of “free will” — and with that gift comes much responsibility.  Like Hugh, we choose whether or not “truth and integrity” are important parts of our lives, and that is reflected in how we “choose” to live and to use our words.  

“ The problem of pain, of war and the horror of war, of poverty and disease is always confronting us.  But a God who allows no pain, no grief, also allows no choice. . . . We human beings have been given the terrible gift of free will, and this ability to make choices, to help write our own story, is what makes us human, even when we make the wrong choices, abusing our freedom and the freedom of others.  The weary and war-torn world around us bears witness to the wrongness of many of our choices. . . . 

In time of war language always dwindles, vocabulary is lost; and we live in a century of war.  When I took my elder daughter’s tenth-grade vocabulary cards up to the school from which she had graduated, less than a decade after she left, the present tenth-grade students knew almost none of them.  It was far easier for my daughter to read Shakespeare in high school than it was for students coming along just a few years after her . . .”

Words and how they are used impact our very state of being.  “We think because we have words, not the other way around.  The more words we have, the better able we are to think conceptually.  . . . “

“We cannot Name or be Named without language.  If our vocabulary dwindles to a few shopworn words, we are setting ourselves up for takeover by a dictator.  When language is exhausted our freedom dwindles—we cannot think;  we do not recognize danger;  injustice strikes us as no more than ‘the way things are’ . . .”

I leave you with these Words and ask you to consider the importance of “Words and Integrity” in this day and time in which we live.  

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”