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Recent Ponderings

So I haven’t read a Henri Nouwen book in a while, and when he was mentioned last week Sunday during Jeff’s sermon, I felt it was about time to pick him up again. I’ve had this book, Reaching Out: the Three Movements of the spiritual Life, since the summer after my junior year at Calvin, but I never got past the first couple of pages. Now I know why. God was saving it for such a time as this in my life when I am more prepared for the words that I am reading.
Right now I am just struggling my way through it since it is really challenging my thinking and how I view relationships with other people. Here are just a couple of passages from the book that I just don’t know what to do with right now and need some further thought.

There is much mental suffering in our world. But some of it is suffering for the wrong reason because it is born out of the false expectation that we are called to take each other’s loneliness away. When our loneliness drives us away from ourselves into the arms of our companions in life, we are, in fact, driving ourselves into excruciating relationships, tiring friendships and suffocating embraces.

…Real openness to each other [in relationships] also means a real closedness, because only he who can hold a secret can safely share his knowledge. When we do not protect with great care our own inner mystery, we will never be able to form community…An intimate relationship between people not only asks for mutual openness but also for mutual respectful protection of each other’s uniqueness.

Do not now seek answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

And finally…
The mystery of love is that it protects and respects the aloneness of the other and creates the free space where he can convert his loneliness into a solitude that can be shared. In this solitude we can strengthen each other by mutual respect, by careful consideration of each other’s individuality, by an obedient distance from each other’s privacy and by a reverent understanding of the sacredness of the human hear. In this solitude we encourage each other to enter into the silence of our innermost being and discover there the voice that calls us beyond the limits of human togetherness to a new communion. In this solitude we can slowly become aware of a presence of him who embraces friends and lovers and offers us the freedom to love each other, because he loved us first.

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One Response

  1. He’s so right…about living in the questions, the lonliness, even. I pray we make it a priority to run to Him first and seek solitude often…

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