I realize that I’m a decade or two behind schedule in reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, but I cannot resist telling you about it. It’s one of those books that gives you a lump in your throat that you cannot seem to swallow. It sticks with you. It makes you see familiar things in unfamiliar ways. It tugs and tugs at your heart and makes you want to live better.
This ending scene, in which Meg, the heroine of the story, says I love you thirteen times, is my favorite:
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 back. 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. This 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!”
This scene of Meg and Charles makes me reflect on a couple truths.
First, it makes me thankful for God’s relentless love for us. Apart from God loving me first and shouting my name in the loudest way possible, I am just like Charles: utterly lost in a lie. God is shouting at us “I love you! I love you!” in so many ways: through the beauty of creation, through the love of others, and, most especially, through sending Jesus to take the punishment our sin deserved on himself so that we can be united back to God.
And secondly, this scene reminds me that real love is always sacrificial. Meg risked her life to go back to the dark planet and save Charles—she did this because she loved him. The source of all sacrificial love is found in Jesus. When I am struggling to love others, I need to look to Jesus. I am not saying that looking at Jesus is easy because, as simple as it is, it is absolutely not easy. It means turning away from the deceptive lure of making a name for myself. It means living less comfortably so someone else can thrive. It means putting our plans on hold so we can notice someone who feels forgotten. I am thankful for a God who declares his love for us every day. I am thankful that he is not afraid to shout “I love you!” in my most vulnerable moments.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. –John 13:34-35