I think I have loved Henri Nouwen's writing since the moment I was introduced to his books. His words seem to me to be the perfect combination of wisdom, humility, passion, and holiness. Reading his beautiful daybook, Bread For The Journey has been such a treat so far this year, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last year that I do so.
Every once in a while, a day sticks out in my mind. Perhaps the topic, or maybe just where my head happens to be that day, but there seems to be one every once in a while that I just cannot get out of my head.
The reading from April 6 is just such an example...
Being Humble and ConfidentThe tension between the two keeps us spiritually awake. I think it is easy to live on either side of a spectrum in this life of a Christ follower. It would be easy to err on the side that Jesus is love, and it really doesn't matter what I do so long as I am happy, simply because Jesus loves me. Conversely, it would be easy to take the role of the zealous, hyper-holy follower of Jesus, removing myself from the world to remove all temptation, never engage in culture for fear that it will taint and make me unholy, and be unswerving in my judgments, never allowing love to factor in.
—Henri Nouwen, Bread For The Journey, April 6
As we look at the stars and let our minds wander into the many galaxies, we come to feel so small and insignificant that anything we do, say, or think seems completely useless. But if we look into our souls and let our minds wander into the endless galaxies of our interior lives, we become so tall and significant that everything we do, say, or think appears to be of great importance.
We have to keep looking both ways to remain humble and confident, humorous and serious, playful and responsible. Yes, the human being is very small and very tall. It is the tension between the two that keeps us spiritually awake.
Jesus hasn't called us to either extreme, but rather to a life of tension. Tension between the 'anything goes' and the 'everything goes'. Tension between how life is today, and how I want it to be. Tension between hating the sin and loving the sinner. Tension between the holiness that I would settle for, and the true one that God has called me to.
Henri is, once again, beautifully right. Without this tension, I would easily be asleep.