remember this.

More and more the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, sit up on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have time to practice the simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, and to be a part of some impressive project is so strong, that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans; not to organize people around an urgent cause; not to feel that you are working directly with social progress—but I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and to tell your own. To let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them but you really love them.
--Henri Nouwen


  1. This is so beautiful. And really hits the heart of some things I've been thinking about lately: contentment, being present with myself/the world; and being vs. doing.

    Thank you for sharing and reminding me of this.

  2. May be this 2:26 minute video can give you an idea....

  3. I really appreciate this. As an aside, this also happens to be the true Christian way of approaching community and social justice that too often gets overshadowed by the religious bigots that get the media attention. (The way that Christ approached the broken, the sick, and the hurting.)

  4. Hey Jen, I don't know if you knew this, but Henri Nouwen was a priest! As get deeper into my own life, delve deeper into my own philosophical studies, I'm really reaching a point where I believe that we all are more similar than we are different, and I love it when your and my beliefs coincide, especially considering we had such different upbringings. Love you!

  5. Ha! No, I didn't know he was a priest. Glad to see him "practicing what he preaches" :) love, jen