I've read the same exact thing two days in a row--same author, different books. And when that happens, that repetition of a phrase, an idea--it's time to sit up and pay attention.
I'm on a Madeleine L'Engle streak these days, slowly reading her journals and devouring her novels. I picked up A Wrinkle in Time last night and read until I couldn't focus on the words (which wasn't very long at all, really), then finished it this morning by the light of the tree with a Christmas mug of coffee in hand.
And on page 198 I read the same exchange she quoted in the journal I was reading while eating my lunch yesterday. Once more, I'm faced with the idea of freedom within boundaries. Of the inside being bigger than the outside. Of being bound to be free.
"How can I explain it to you? Oh, I know. In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet."
"Yes, yes," Calvin said impatiently. "What's that got to do with the Happy Medium?"
"Kindly pay me the courtesy of listening to me." Mrs. Whatsit's voice was stern, and for a moment Calvin stopped pawing the ground like a nervous colt. "It is a very strict form of poetry, is it not?"
"There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That's a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?"
"Yes." Calvin nodded.
"And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?"
"But within this strict form the poet has complete freedom to say whatever he wants, doesn't he?"
"Yes." Calvin nodded again.
"So," Mrs. Whatsit said.
"Oh, do not be stupid, boy!" Mrs. Whatsit scolded." You know perfectly well what I am driving at!"
"You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?"
"Yes." Mrs. Whatsit said. "You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."
Time, place. Finances, family. Skills, talents. Energy, resources.
The strict form that makes up my life. Your life. The structure that surrounds us, that contains us. That protects us. That shapes us.
But absolute freedom within that structure.
What you say is completely up to you.