I have been reading more Nouwen.

I can’t stop. I got the book, Beloved, at the book tables at my conference last week, and it came with the CD of Nouwen’s conversation with Philip Roderick. I listened to it twice, once driving to Dubuque, Iowa from Chicago, Illinois (more on that later, when Graeme and Aaron send me better pictures to post than my cell phone pics), and again driving from Dubuque, Iowa to Chicago, Illinois. Now I am reading it, and marveling at how different an experience (and oddly, to me, more powerful) reading Nouwen’s words is to listening to him speak. Here is a passage that struck me particularly on both car rides:

“Augustine says, ‘My heart is restless until it rests in you, O Lord.’ You can say that much of what we are doing is to find some solution for our loneliness. On a very deep level, we know that if we want human beings or human structures to solve our loneliness, we can quickly become extremely demanding and obsessive. If you use your relationship to solve your loneliness, you can quickly find yourself being very clinging and oppressive. This is why loneliness often leads to so much violence. You want somebody else to take that loneliness away and it doesn’t work. You can see how quickly people’s behaviour starts becoming violent — kissing is a loving behaviour, but it becomes biting before you know it. Listening becomes overhearing, and looking tenderly becomes looking suspiciously. Precisely when they come out of loneliness, all these gentle things become violent things very quickly…

“Solitude is a discipline in which you deal with your loneliness in a way that it doesn’t destroy you or others, but instead becomes a place to discover the truth of who you are. You are created by a God who wants all your attention and who wants to give you all the love you need.”

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2 comments on “I have been reading more Nouwen.

  1. Judi says:

    Great quote. I’m enjoying your posts. You have a lot more here for me to keep checking out later on future visits. Thank you for sharing your obvious gift for writing.

    Like

  2. Matt says:

    Hi,
    love your comments! My dad had a lecture on tape of Nouwen where I heard this, and your report of it is very refreshing. THanks for sharing!

    Like

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