Do all things have an explanation? (a quote from Madeleine L’Engle)

In A Wrinkle in Time, young Meg is questioning her mother about certain strange (and, believe me, they are strange!) events that have happened to their family, including the mysterious disappearance of Meg’s father:

“And you think all this has something to do with Father?” (Meg asks.)

“I think it must have.”

“But what?”

“That I don’t know. But it seems the only explanation.”

“Do you think things always have an explanation?”

“Yes. I believe that they do. But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations. But you see, Meg, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”

–Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

(Thank God, I don’t have to understand everything in order to be certain that there is an explanation for them.)


11 thoughts on “Do all things have an explanation? (a quote from Madeleine L’Engle)

  1. I think you know how much Madeleine L’Engle & her work has inspired me!
    You had me at your post title! 😉

    I’ve spent time with the remarkable writer at two of her writing workshops at a monastery, and I still can’t believe that actually happened. Amazing.

    I just found out a few days ago that there are a TON of YouTube clips of her speaking about all kinds of topics, from the writing space she had as librarian at the Cathedral of St John the Divine to her religious views and everything one could imagine in between.

    I posted the following intro. & short link on my Facebook page. Hope you enjoy it, Laura!

    “All of the best of my writing has come out of pain.”

    Writers, take note! She even made me laugh out loud with one line.


    1. I know very little about L’Engle, actually. This is the only book of hers I’ve read. It took me a while to warm up to this book. I started it as a child, disliked it, waited a few decades, read it, and enjoyed it this time around. (My older daughter had the same response. I told her to wait until she was older and try again.)

      That is a powerful quote about writing and pain!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love love love her lesser known books: “Two Part Invention – The Story of a Marriage” (about her lengthy marriage to the actor Hugh Franklin; it’s a stunning book) and “The Small Rain” (which was her first novel), “A Live Coal in the Sea”, “A Severed Wasp” – lots of religious references in all these books… I’ve read them over & over again! Her adult books are worth getting to know. 🙂 I’m glad that you and your older daughter read “Wrinkle” again and liked it. 🙂 I’ve been through that pattern with other books and movies too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. *Whew!* I’m not the only one not very familiar with L’Engle! I do recall being a bit perplexed by A Wrinkle in Time, but also enjoying it as a child. For some reason, I’ve never hunted down any of her other work. Thanks for this quote. When I’m perplexed and confused about the circumstances of my life, recalling that God has the big picture in hand reminds me to put my confidence in Him and His ability.


  2. I just read that series of books 3 or 4 yrs ago. I was familiar with them before, and figured it was about time I read them. I want to read some of L’Engle other works. Many quotes and excerpts from her have resonated with me.


    1. Confession: this is the only book of the series that I’ve read, and it took me a few decades to mature enough to enjoy it. I don’t even know what else she wrote! I do seem to remember a story about her being introduced to a class of children as “a children’s author who now writes adult fiction.” Her response? “I don’t write porn!!!”


  3. Interesting philosophical and theological question: Does everything have meaning and purpose, and we do not always know what that meaning or purpose is? OR As humans, do we seek, ascribe and believe that everything has meaning and purpose, whether or not it truly does?

    I choose to believe in meaning and purpose. It is in my nature. I believe it is a uniquely human quality, to seek meaning. I do not fight this uniquely human quality.

    Thank you for the great quote. I knew that Dyane would chime in. She’s a HUGE fan of Madeleine L’Engel. It may be time for me to reread “A Wrinkle in Time.”


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