Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thinking of Titles is the Biggest Pain of Blogging

George has several very dear professors who have been mentoring him while he has been in seminary. There is one in particular who has been especially encouraging to him. They meet regularly and George really looks forward to their get togethers. Do guys call getting together a get together? I don't think so. I tell y'all, I have been having me some writer's block lately! Anyway, at their last lunch date (oh, that is so much worse than get together!), his friend gave him a devotional book by Henri Nouwen. I have heard of Henri Nouwen. We even have friends who named their daughter for him (her name is Nouwen). But I just haven't ever really encountered anything he had written before.

This particular book is called The Inner Voice of Love- A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom. It is a private journal that Father Nouwen kept during a really difficult time in his life. He wrote one imperative for himself each day, a personal challenge to work through something he with which he was struggling. The book was only published years after the period of his life in which it was written. Intensely personal and honest, it was never intended to be published by the author, but his close friends persuaded him that because it could help and encourage so many, he really couldn't keep it to himself.

George encouraged me to take a look at the book because I have really been flailing about lately, and have been sort of weighing the pros and cons of sharing- wanting to hash everything out, to share and be known, to be understood and even exonerated on some level (like, there is a really good reason why I am so strange and difficult!), but also being aware that the ins and outs of such flailing usually expose other people and open myself up to much criticism. It is funny that those are the sorts of pros and cons Nouwen himself might have considered when deciding whether or not to share his private journal. But it is done in such a way that the only person it exposes is Nouwen himself, and we love him more for it. George thought it would both give me insight into how to write about my own "stuff" without dragging other people into it, and more importantly, that I might benefit from Father Nouwen's insight into his own pain and confusion.

The second entry seems like it could have been written by a friend with the inscription "To Abby" at the top. I hope some of you may find it just as helpful, whether you feel it as intensely and acutely as our author felt it, or just that you feel the need to be justified as a victim of idle gossip or incompassionate suspicion. It is the helpful explanatory companion to the old cliche your mom used to ask you, "who cares what other people think?" Because, of course, the answer really is, "I do!":

Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected. People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you expect from people's response to your experience of abandonment, the more you will feel exposed to ridicule.

You have to close yourself off to the outside world so you can enter your own heart and the heart of God through your pain. God will send to you the people with whom you can share your anguish, who can lead you closer to the true source of love.

So what do y'all think? Is this helpful? Anyway, it sort of explains my absence- the writer's block and the lack of knowing how to talk about the things I am thinking about. It is freeing to just kind of know I don't need to. I plan to write more regularly again now. So yeah, that's it for now. Feel free to comment, criticize, inquire, suggest, share, give recipes or tell jokes.


Wrights said...

Abby, Thank you so much for sharing that. I am going to look for that book on Amazon because it sounds like just what I need. I was just telling Nathaniel today that I have so much to share and don't feel like I have anyone other than him or my mom that I feel like I can share with and not feel the rejection like he mentioned. Thank you for always being so honest. You are such an encouragement to me and make me feel like I am not the only one who goes through some of these things!

RHB said...

I think we women especially have an acute need to be understood, but this guy is right- that need will never really be fulfilled by people- we can feel that we are understood sometimes and maybe we are on some levels but really, God is the only one that really knows and understands us- even better than we understand ourselves. I think He sometimes gives us seasons of isolation so that we will draw nearer to Him- and yes, I think He provides those that we can talk with when we need to, but sometimes we just need to be talking to Him and letting Him deal with us. Praying for you. Love you!

jennifer h said...


The Nouwen quote is excellent.

Sometimes it feels like if you could just lay out everything before people (whoever you want to clarify things with) they would surely understand and everything would be better. I've found that most of the time, that's not the case.

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