Thursday, February 08, 2007

Words from the wise

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) was a Dutch Catholic priest and author. He wrote 40 books on spirituality, and was also known for his theological teaching, and his work with mentally handicapped people. I stumbled across this little piece of inspiration the other day.

Finding Solitude

by Henri Nouwen

All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.
Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when to ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love.

8 comments:

Kitty Cheng said...

yes as much as I am an extrovert (in all personality tests), I enjoy solitude and aloneness at times too!

Ross said...

I find that some level of solitude can be good for recharging spiritually.

Miss Eagle said...

Ross thank you for dropping by The Eagle's Nest. Glad to meet a friend of my good friend Kitty. Glad you picked up on the passion - I have a passion for justice and equity (similar passion to my good friends the Eighth Century Prophets). I loved this post from Henri Nouwen and - if you have no objection - I would like to post it with a hat-tip to you on To the Desert (http:/eaglesnestcompanion.blogspot.com). You will see there that I have an abiding interest in desert spirituality - which involves solitude and not buying into 21st century madnesses such as consumerism. You sound to me like a person who might be interested in such an exploration.

I am a former librarian as you may have noted from my profile so am interested in your posts with a library focus.

Currently, I am assisting my friend Ian (you will find him mentioned on To the Desert)with proofreading a chapter and the bibliography of his PhD thesis on desert spirituality. (Ian divvied it out among his friends). When I am finished,if he gives permission, I will post the bibliography on To the Desert because it will make a wonderful resource for people wishing to explore desert spirituality.

I had heard about the Third Day concert from a colleague at work (she goes to Crossways) who attended.

Ross said...

Thanks for your comments, Miss Eagle. Please visit again.

Kathy said...

Ross, you might also like to investigate Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating in regards to contemplative living and prayer.

I will be putting up some links to this kind of information once I get my blog up and running.

Kathy said...

Actually, cancel that about Merton and Keating. I have just read some disturbing things about so called 'Christian contemplation', and will need to do more research before embracing or promoting.

Ross said...

Alright. Thanks for the warning.

Dina said...

I like that.