Tag Archives: Henri Nouwen

What I Meant When I Said Live Generously

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What I Meant When I Said Live Generously

One of my life goals is to live generously. It’s a favorite phrase of mine and one that I sometimes repeat, mantra-like, in the car or in line for the metal detector at the airport or similar other locations where it’s easy to lose your cool…like the DMV for instance. What I hope though is that it will become such a part of my thinking, so completely ingrained into my very character, that it will no longer be necessary to put it on a repeat cycle in my brain.

It turns out, much to my surprise, I had some trouble explaining it when Cathy asked what I meant. So I’ve been thinking about it and trying to figure out a way to elaborate that helps others see my heart. And then it turns out that (once again) Henri Nouwen has already done that very thing. Here’s what I meant to say…

…We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit–all these are little steps toward love.

What I call generosity, he calls love. Yep. That’s what I meant to say. Every time I have the choice to interact with grace or generosity or love, I want that to be my default. Every time I have the opportunity to be short-tempered, ill-mannered, snarky, rude or even indifferent, I want instead to be gracious and loving, to live out a generosity of spirit.

I know this will continue to be part of my inner-dialogue and I’m sure it will come up again in my ponderings. In the meantime, feel free to chime in. How do you nurture a generous spirit?

(From Bread for the Journey by Henri J. M. Nouwen, June 15)

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A Still Place

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A Still Place

I just read my daily reading for today and can’t resist sharing. (If you’re doing the math, yes. Daily morning reading at 9:20 pm? Nailed it.) It is so completely in alignment with what I was trying to say last time about the pace of life we choose that I have to share it. Here it is, from Henri Nouwen’s, Bread for the Journey. (Stick with it to the end of the second paragraph…)

A Still Place in the Market

“Be still and acknowledge that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) These are words to take with us in our busy lives. We may think about stillness in contrast to our noisy world. But perhaps we can go further and keep an inner stillness even while we carry on business, teach, work in construction, make music, or organize meetings.

It is important to keep a still place in the “market-place.” This still place is where God can dwell and speak to us. It also is the place from which we can speak in a healing way to all the people we meet in our busy days. Without that still space we start spinning. We become driven people running all over the place without much direction. But with that stillness God can be our gentle guide in everything we think, say or do. {Italics added.}

Love the idea of healing words. Of course they come from a place of stillness. Of course they do. Here’s to carrying that stillness within, friends, and speaking healing words into each of our own small communities. Pretty sure we can change the world.

P.S. I finished Shauna Niequist’s new book, Bread and Wine. Cannot wait to tell you about it! Stay tuned.