Towards expressing my love for You


I picked up a copy of Henri Nouwen: His Life and His Vision by Michael O’Laughlin after finding it on the bargain shelf at Chapters on Tuesday.

My spirit resonates in a deep way with the work of Nouwen and so I picked it up to find out more about the man and his journey. In particular, this quote decided the purchase:

“Dear Lord, this afternoon I shared my feelings of guilt and sinfulness with one of the monks. He gave me good advice. He kept urging me to move away continually from introspection and to concentrate on expressing my love for you.”
–from: A Cry for Mercy

I am prone to introspection. I think and process and feed the spaces within myself a lot. I believe it’s kneading bread to feed others. I hope, at least. But sometimes, it can be counter-productive. It always needs to be a flow of in and out, in and out, otherwise my inner water can get murky. This quote reminded me of that again today.

  • Stefanie

    Wise words, and a good reminder for this ‘introspector’ as well. I am currently reading Nouwen’s Prodigal Son and it’s having quite an impact. I heard of him before but this is his first book I’m reading and have to say I am impressed.

  • Jeff Gill

    Idelette, Henri Nouwen is one of the best. I was fortunate to be one of his students during the two years he taught at Harvard Divinity School in the early 80’s. Although I haven’t read Michael O’Laughlin’s book, I know he’s working hard to uphold and spread Henri’s legacy. Michael was a fellow student, and someone with whom I have stayed in touch over the years. Your note here prompts me to get back in touch with him after a couple of years hiatus. And Stefanie — Prodigal Son is, I think, one of Henri’s most powerful books. Drink deeply from the well!!

    • idelette

      Wow, Jeff, I didn’t know that! I love how these can be names to me, but to you they’re very real. I LOVE how the Story thickens.

      And Stefanie, I’m so glad you’re discovering Nouwen. My life is so much the richer thanks to his writings.

  • Jeff Gill

    Confession — another “introspector” here! The danger, of course, comes when that’s ALL we do. But I like your image of “kneading the bread to feed others.” The inward or introspective journey is SO important to the outward movement — and vice versa. Henri certainly knew that, but he also was very aware of the danger of one without the other. Some of his more powerful experiences (and the writing that came out of them) happened after he left HDS and the academy altogether, and went to live in the L’Arche community — in Canada — where he lived in community with mentally handicapped people. It was this outward movement that fed his inner life in a way that he had never experienced before. I barely know you, Idelette, but from what little I know, it seems to me that you work pretty hard at keeping that balance. It’s not always easy, though, is it?!

  • Cara Meintjes