Thursday, April 10, 2008

Some Reflections on Nouwen

So, as you might have gathered, I spent the last few days up in Marin, north of San Francisco. A friend offered some space at his Zen Center. It was lovely, challenging, and clarifying.

I spent a good deal of my time hiking and reading...and I biked the 18-mile trek over...and I took the ferry back!

I wanted to share some stuff from Nouwen's REACHING OUT. This is a book I read in college. I felt this was a good time to re-read it. It couldn't have hit me at a better time and in a more needed place.

Our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoidance of pain, not only our physical pain but our emotional and mental pain as well. We have become so used to this state of anesthesia, that we panic when there is nothing or nobody left to distract us. When we have no project to finish, no friend to visit, no book to read, no television to watch or no record to play, and when we are left all alone by ourselves we are brought so close to the revelation of our basic human aloneness and are so afraid of experiencing an all-pervasive sense of loneliness that we will do anything to get busy again and continue the game which makes us believe that everything is fine after all.

How often does [our insecurity] lead us against others in self-defense? Sometimes it seems that gossip, condemnation of other people's behavior and outright attacks against their life choices are more a sign of our own self-doubt than of our solidly grounded convictions.

These quotes (and so much of the book) helped me in my quest for clarity these last few days. I am grateful to my wife, who watched the kiddo, and to Rick, for putting me up. And to Henri, God rest his soul, for his life and writings.

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