Saturday, September 21, 2013

What It's Like to be Charles Wallace

If she could give love to IT perhaps it would shrivel up and die, for she was sure that IT could not withstand love. But she, in all her weakness and foolishness and baseness and nothingness, was incapable of loving IT. Perhaps it was not too much to ask of her, but she could not do it.
But she could love Charles Wallace.
She could stand there and she could love Charles Wallace.
Her own Charles Wallace, the real Charles Wallace, the child for whom she had come back to Camazotz, to IT, the baby who was so much more than she was, and who was yet so utterly vulnerable.
She could love Charles Wallace.
Charles. Charles, I love you. My baby brother who always takes care of me. Come back to me, Charles Wallace, come away from IT, come back, come home. I love you, Charles. Oh, Charles Wallace, I love you.
Tears were streaming down her cheeks, but she was unaware of them.
Now she was even able to look at him, at this animated thing that was not her own Charles Wallace at all. She was able to look and love.
I love you. Charles Wallace, you are my darling and my dear and the light of my life and the treasure of my heart. I love you. I love you. I love you.
Slowly his mouth closed. Slowly his eyes stopped their twirling. The tic in the forehead ceased its revolting twitch. Slowly he advanced toward her.
"I love you!" she cried. "I love you, Charles! I love you!"
Then suddenly he was running, pelting, he was in her arms, he was shrieking with sobs. "Meg! Meg! Meg!" 
"I love you, Charles!" she cried again, her sobs almost as loud as his, her tears mingling with his. "I love you! I love you! I love you!" 
All I could think about was how much I wanted to be perfect. How much I wanted to impress people. How much I wanted people to stop thinking whatever I thought that they think. How much I wanted to be different than I am.

All I could think about was how much I wanted to be perfect.

I began to cry.

All I could think about was how I'm not perfect. How I'll never have a university full of people thinking I'm doing things right. How I'll never live up to the standards I set up for myself through comparison. How I'll never be able to fix myself. All I could think about was how I'm not perfect.

I cried harder.

I wanted so badly to be perfect, and I knew I never could be.

Suddenly, I was standing before the heavenly throne of my Father.

I was late to class. I had wet hair. I hadn't done any homework. And when I opened the door to my classroom, my God was there, and His arms were open. Welcoming me and warming me and smiling.
I love you.

I was barely making it to the gym. My thin hair swept beneath a crooked headband. My nike shorts twice the size of the elliptical next to mine. Inhaler in hand.
I love you.

I was lying on my bed in September. Home for the weekend for the third weekend in a row. My fiance on the other end of a 750 mile-long landline. Books weighing heavy on my pounding heart. My breath quick. Unable to explain to the soul I love, just what was wrong in mine.
I was lying on my bed in September, and I was crying. Crying because I wanted so badly to be perfect and because I knew I never could be and because my Savior loved me just the same.

"I feel like Charles Wallace," I said to Stuart.
A whirl of darkness. An icy cold blast. An angry, resentful howl that seemed to tear through her. Darkness again. Through the darkness to save her came a sense of Mrs Whatsit's presence, so that she knew it could be IT who now had her in its clutches.
 And then the feel of the earth beneath her, of something in her arms, and she was rolling over on the sweet smelling autumnal earth, and Charles Wallace was crying out, "Meg! Oh, Meg!"
Now she was hugging him close to her, and his little arms were clasped tightly about her neck. "Meg, you saved me! You saved me!" he said over and over.
--A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle 

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