When I think of those who have taught me most about spiritual life, near the very top of that list, if not in the very top spot would be Henri Nouwen. I never met him, but his writings have become increasingly important to me since my health deteriorated a few years ago now. He seems to have a remarkable ability to weave an understanding of Jesus into an understanding of the frailties and vulnerabilities we all face in our own existence, in our own experience of being human. For that I am deeply grateful.
At this time of the year, I use a small book of Advent Readings based on his writings. The following quote was in the reading for today. It originally appeared in a wonderful book by Nouwen called “Out of Solitude.” Read it and think about it slowly…
“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.”
This had the breath of God, the sense of bubbling living water in it for me today. I hope it may bless you.
At times the silence, the distancing that illness or any form of vulnerability and frailty can almost force upon one can seem so frustrating. At my best moments though, I genuinely experience that silence, that sense of distance from the buzz of the Christian or Church scene as a gift, a gift so generous that I feel totally unworthy of its riches, feel even guilty I have been given it. It is as though limitations become the hands of God cupping around me, that He might then in a place of stillness place His reassuring hand upon me. The place of frustration becomes a place of unrivalled beauty that I am loathe to leave…