Saturday, May 7, 2011

Interruptions

A friend recommended Henri Nouwen’s book Reaching Out and here is an excerpt that has challenged and inspired me this week.

Don’t we often look at the many events of our lives as big or small interruptions, interrupting many of our plans, projects and life schemes? Don’t we feel an inner protest when a student interrupts our reading, bad weather our summer, illness our well-scheduled plans, the death of a dear friend our peaceful state of mind, a cruel war our ideas about the goodness of man, and the many harsh realities of life our good dreams about it? And doesn’t this unending row of interruptions build in our hearts feelings of anger, frustration and even revenge, so much so that at times we see the real possibility that growing old can become synonymous with growing bitter?


But what if our interruptions are in fact our opportunities, if they are challenges to an inner response by which growth takes place and through which we come to the fullness of being? What if the events of our history are molding us as a sculptor molds his clay, and if it is only in a careful obedience to these molding hands that we can discover our real vocation and become mature people? What if all the unexpected interruptions are in fact the invitations to give up old-fashioned and out-moded styles of living and are opening up new unexplored areas of experience? And finally: What if our history does not prove to be a blind impersonal sequence of events over which we have no control, but rather reveals to us a guiding hand pointing to a personal encounter in which all our hopes and aspirations will reach their fulfillment?

Then our life would indeed be a different life because then fate becomes opportunity, wounds a warning, and paralysis an invitation to search for deeper sources of vitality. Then we can look for hope in the middle of crying cities, burning hospitals and desperate parents and children. Then we can  cast off the temptation of despair and speak about the fertile tree while witnessing the dying of the seed. Then indeed we can break out of the prison of history who speaks to us in the center of our solitude and respond to his ever new call for conversion.

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