I have learned this lesson before: This is my life. Today. Not when I get married, have a better job, have a family…etc…etc…etc. Today — and the people, work, trip to the grocery store and phone call with my sister on the way home — is what it’s all about.
In this season I have opportunity to learn it afresh. I came across this quote and it couldn’t be more encouraging:
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word ‘patience’ means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation to the full in belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb.” ~ Henri Nouwen
In some ways we are always waiting. And it caught me off guard that in these last weeks I have had to learn this lesson again. This is my life. And the best way I’ve found to be truly living in the present is to be grateful. To thank God for the people, work, opportunities I have. To take my eyes off of the perceived lack and things I am longing for, and be grateful for all that makes up my life today. And as my perspective becomes re-aligned, I can more easily see that today is actually what it’s all about.
About Henri Nouwen
The internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor and beloved pastor Henri Nouwen (pronounced Henry Now-win) wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life. He corresponded regularly in English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish with hundreds of friends and reached out to thousands through his Eucharistic celebrations, lectures and retreats. Since his death in 1996, ever-increasing numbers of readers, writers, teachers and seekers have been guided by his literary legacy. Nouwen’s books have sold over 2 million copies and been published in over 22 languages.
Born in Nijkerk, Holland, on January 24, 1932, Nouwen felt called to the priesthood at a very young age. He was ordained in 1957 as a diocesan priest and studied psychology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. In 1964 he moved to the United States to study at the Menninger Clinic. He went on to teach at the University of Notre Dame, and the Divinity Schools of Yale and Harvard. For several months during the 1970s, Nouwen lived and worked with the Trappist monks in the Abbey of the Genesee, and in the early 1980s he lived with the poor in Peru. In 1985 he was called to join L’Arche in Trosly, France, the first of over 100 communities founded by Jean Vanier where people with developmental disabilities live with assistants.
Nouwen believed that what is most personal is most universal; he wrote, “By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.”
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