Layers of me

I've always loved reading Henri Nouwen.   Today, a friend reminded me of a beautiful quote that illustrates so well how my life has changed from one of intense rigidity in my schedule to simply anticipation of what a day will bring.

"More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a priv...ilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My o...wn desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them."
-- Henri Nouwen


Kerri said…
I do love all your layers!! Great quote. I'm excited about Christmas for you guys . . . will be a whole world different, but will be amazing!! Missing you!
Denise said…
This is a beautiful quote and it feels very timely for life in suburbia too--expecially at this insanely busy time of year. When I think over all the things I have done in the last days (and that I am committed to do in the days to come) I have to question how useful any of them really were/ are. They were all VERY GOOD things, but I don't know if any of them are BEST things. This is mainly because I also know that while I have been running around like crazy, I have not read a book to my 4 year old or sat in the dark looking at the lights and talking with the older girls. I have not taken the time to find out how my friends really are, or cracked my Bible. And today, because I AM so busy, I said, "no" to something that could probably classify as BEST. The Nouwen desire is a good litmus test regardless of where you are, but I might stop short of "throwing water". Not all things are universal. :)

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