I remember telling someone about Henri Nouwen and his experience with a man named Adam at the L’Arche Daybreak Community. I really appreciate Henri and his revelations of our Savior. Nouwen was certainly a wounded healer. And based on the reading I’ve done about Henri’s life, I would have to say that this experience was the saving of him.
Henri Nouwen Needs Must
Henri was extremely narcissistic in response to his life wounds. And just as I said of my own self-focus, it was totally detrimental. Nouwen was dying on the vine while being a fruitful author and priest. Henri’s eyes were on Henri to a dangerous degree. But then the Lord called him to serve at L’Arche Daybreak Community, a home for people with disabilities and those who serve them. There he became the sole support of a man named Adam. Adam could do nothing on his own; his whole life required help of another. Just like me with the sheep, Nouwen couldn’t be primarily focused on himself because Adam’s need was simply too great.
Over the years Henri had with Adam, I believe he would say that he was the one who was healed. Reflecting on this time, I glean that Henri received the greater ministry and was changed forever. Nouwen was a beautiful spiritual man who couldn’t get beyond his own wounds. So God called him out of his woundedness by causing him to focus on sustaining the daily life of another. Do you see the amazing wisdom of this? God is SO masterful!
Henri Nouwen’s Needs
Like Henri, I found wholeness outside of myself, not within myself. I am not speaking of salvation here. Christ comes inside us to dwell and in that I am saved from self by Someone who lives within me. No, I am talking about focus and gazing. God called me out of my self-focus to save me from it. It wasn’t something I could just formulate and work up.
Again, I spent years in a dark night of the soul state. But His Light shone and Jesus orchestrated the intent of His Life flow out of me. It has all been for Him, and not about ME. I praise Him for this! I praise Him for His work in Nouwen. The Father is the perfect Shepherd and He leads us, even what we focus on, to His perfect plan of Life. He designs the events of life to bring us into wholeness, and often that happens when we focus on others not self.
So that nothing is done through self-interest or empty pride. But that in humility, everyone thinks others better than himself. Do not be preoccupied with your own things, but rather with the things of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus; 6 Who, being in the form of God, did not eagerly desire equality with God as a prize. But He emptied Himself and took on the form of a servant (and the likeness of a man, having been made).
Philippians 2:3-7 RGT