I have to admit though, as much as it moves me and as much as I take encouragement from it – I don’t know if I want to live the same way. When it’s right in front of me – that choice to struggle in the open, or to retreat and try and patch the cracks. The temptation to the latter often wins – not successfully I will say – but I still try. Perhaps if I can remember what Mr Nouwen says: “It is my growing conviction that my life belongs to others just as much as it belongs to myself and that what is experienced as most unique often proves to be most solidly embedded in the common condition of being human.”
I find myself drawn to the writings of Henri Nouwen these days. His Clowning in Rome is one of my favorite books – I can read it over and over and still find something new. Sometimes I pick one up when I find I’ve run out of words to say what I’m feeling – or when I need something to speak to me and I’m not even sure what I want it to say.
What both draws me and scares me is how absolutely open he was with his life – from the most basic spiritual questions to his most personal of struggles. It was in his teachings and in the way he lived his life, and in his writings which will be around for generations to read. When he struggled, he did it openly, not trying to hide it and pull himself together. He didn’t have all the answers. What he had was an unshakable faith in God, and the ability to share his life in a way that anyone could understand and say “yes! me too!”