When Healing Takes Time

John Starke | September 23, 2015

In 1985, Henri Nouwen left his position at Harvard Divinity School to serve at L’Arche in Trosly, France, a ministry to the mentally handicapped. He was in a journey of giving up prestige for a vocation that was more “forgotten and passed over,” as he put it.

Sting of Rejection 

Within the first several months of his new life, a close friend traveling to Paris had promised to spend time with him in Trosly. But his friend returned to Boston without even a note or call that he wasn’t coming to visit. The pain of rejection stung Nouwen.

“I now wonder what to do with this experience,” he wrote in his journal. Whenever the pain of rejection would sneak up again, he’d tell himself:

If you really want to be less visible, less known, try to use this event to become more forgotten, more passed over; be grateful for the occasion. Trust that hiddenness will give you new eyes to see yourself, your world, and your God. People cannot give you new eyes; only the one who loves you without limits.

Sometimes this would work and other times it wouldn’t. So Nouwen would pray for help not to be bitter and…

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