Monday, November 19, 2007

The Holy Longing

I was introduced recently to an exquisitely nourishing soul-book. My moments with tea, in my red chair in the corner, have been rich this week, as I've weaved my way through The Holy Longing, by Ronald Rolheiser.

Rolheiser writes for those in search of a Christian Spirituality. For those of us who have been confused by certain expressions of organized Christianity, especially the aspects that seem contrary to the God we have experienced, or the God we imagine is holding us in the palm of his hands, and is able to hold all that is "us", all that is created and human.

In the dedication, Rolheiser writes:
"For Henri Nouwen, 1932-1996, our generation's Kierkegaard. By sharing his own struggles, he mentored us all, helping us to pray while not knowing how to pray, to rest while feeling restless, to be at peace while tempted, to feel safe while still anxious, to be surrounded by a cloud of light while still in darkness, and to love while still in doubt."

To me, this communicates the grace of God, that my trust can propel me even while I am confused, that my creator does not expect me to understand all. It is okay to feel small and to approach with handfulls of questions. It is okay to keep walking toward the light, to take one step closer, to procede as far as the light shines in that moment.

In the reading of this book, I have felt my inner thoughts understood and expressed. I have felt relieved at points, that my questions are not "bad" or "dark", but part of my yearning for truth, for authenticity.

I especially appreciate the section on the "nonnegotiable essentials" as I navigate my way through the many expressions of Christianity I have experienced thus far. I am trying to find a clear way through, past the confusing inconsistencies and disagreements.

From Thursday-Sunday, I will be away for an Advent Retreat at a beautiful property nearby. I will take two books along, including The Holy Longing. And will settle into the largeness of a God I believe can hold me, and will lovingly accept my questions.

I highly recommend this book as a companion as we enter the Advent season, in preparation for the mystery and wonder of the Nativity.

1 comment:

Marco said...

Well, if he's indebted to Henri Nouwen, he can't be all bad, eh? I might see if I can find the book here as well -- thanks for the recommendation.

Regarding my many blogs--yeah, that's me going through various phases of "hey, wouldn't it be cool to start a blog dedicated to...[fill in the blank]?" There is only one that is a blog proper. Another (I won't say which) contains several quotes from your husband. Another might be the rough draft to a book. Another is listed under my name because I've been invited as a contributor, though I never contribute. Etc.