Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Life of the Beloved

I am a Henri Nouwen fan. I now have several of his books but I've never actually finished one. I'm quite terrible at finishing books, unless it's fiction and I need to know how it will be resolved. I guess that is part of why I want to incorporate more spiritual reading into my Lenten journey. For the past two months I have been working on Nouwen's Life of the Beloved. It's a very simple book that focuses on us, the beloved children of God, and how we can be, become, and live as the beloved. Becoming the beloved involves being "taken, blessed, broken, and given." I'm currently reading on being broken.

We're all broken and we all know we're broken. Nowen says we are alone in our brokenness: each human being suffers in a way no other human being suffers. I can't say I've ever thought of that before. We always try to find ways to comfort the broken and afflicted and people try to comfort us by trying to be empathic. Just because I have lost grandparents to death does not mean that I will fully understand the pain that you may go through when one day you (whoever you are) lose a grandparent.

I think we try to hide and cover up our brokenness. "Everything is ok," "I'll be alright," "Oh, don't worry about me." And we never like to cry in front of people. At least I don't, and I'm sure there are others who feel the same. Last night Jeremy and I were playing racquetball. After our water break we began our second game and I was serving. The ball went behind me and I turned around to watch Jeremy hit it. I saw it alright, I saw the ball coming right at me and it hit my left cheek (I thank God it did not hit my eye). Jeremy came over and asked if I was alright and I simply started crying. Yes, it hurt, but I think I was more in shock and I think I cried for all the times I didn't cry. If I was with others I probably would have tried to pass it off and said "I'll be alright," but I told Jeremy that we should go back and ice it. Maybe the icing did help, but this morning I was almost surprised to see that I did not have a bruise on my face, it was only a tiny bit red. So yes, I probably would have been fine last night and could have kept playing, after getting over the shock of being hit, but I let my brokenness out and it felt good.

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