“A bruised reed he will not break …” Isaiah 42
If we are ever privileged enough to be taken out to dinner, one of the questions our host is bound to ask us is: “So, what do you feel like eating?” There are some days we just crave a particular meal.
This craving does not only apply to our physical need for nourishment. It applies to our spiritual need for nourishment too. One of the ways I discern the hunger of my spirit is to move slowly up and down the shelves of my library. I have all my books sorted into various categories and I find myself drawn to those categories that touch my hunger. Granted this may sound a little strange, yet it really seems to guide me to what my spirit longs for.
Lately I have felt more numb than alive. More distant than connected. More doubtful than sure. I carry far more questions than answers.
So I have stood in my library staring at the shelves of books. And the book I was drawn to was what Henri Nouwen calls his “secret diary” that he wrote during the most difficult period of his life, from December 1987 to June 1988.
I am not really surprised that I have chosen (or did it choose me?) to re-read The Inner Voice of Love — A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom by Henri Nouwen. I am not surprised because I have a greater longing for solidarity on this journey than I do for a solution. Before I want answers I want someone to share my questions. I need a companion in my doubt and not a champion of the faith.
Within the solidarity of disconnection and sharing the burden of impossibly heavy questions I find gentle comfort. I am not alone. There are others who have felt the same as I do. I am not the only one. Their doubting, questioning and anguished companionship becomes my umbilical cord to hope and life.
Psalm 13 and Psalm 88 as well as the final hours of Jesus upon the Cross carry the same umbilical-cord-like-connection to hoping against hope.
Great Grace to you at this time, Alan