I read only two of Henri J.M. Nouwen's books over the years, one having a profound effect on me after college. The other was a gift from a Korean friend a few years ago after she graduated.
For me, reading the late Catholic priest's contemporary words is sometimes hard. I am both touched and intimidated by his vulnerability and his big heart of love both towards God and towards people. Sometimes, it's too painful. His thoughts are genuine, humble and from a sweet compassion-- the depth of which I find comforting and convicting at the same time. Nouwen's total spiritual surrender reveals the direction I am to go, but often I am unwilling. When I put the book down I feel inadequate in my faith and in my relationship with God.
Of late, I've been wanting to try again after reading about him in other blogs. Nouwen's life wasn't easy. It appears he was a very lonely person, even though he was surrounded by men and women who loved him and whom he loved. So, as I'm giving him another go, I see that loneliness and the acceptence of that loneliness. We are not that much different. I no longer feel alienated from the spiritual giant of Nouwen, but a fellowship.
"We often wonder what we can do for others, especially for those in great need. It is not a sign of powerlessness when we say: "We must pray for one another." To pray for one another is, first of all, to acknowledge, in the presence of God, that we belong to each other as children of the same God...not competitors or rivals." --Here and Now