EXCERPTS FROM HENRI NOUWEN, PART 3: FROM RESENTMENT TO GRATITUDE

Dancer with Cymbals by Antonio Canova

Woman Dancing (1809-1812) by Antonio Canova

Henri Nouwen, a Dutch-born Catholic priest and theologian, wrote, I once saw a stonecutter remove great pieces from a huge rock on which he was working. In my imagination I thought, That rock must be hurting terribly. Why does his man wound the rock so much? But as I looked longer, I saw the figure of a graceful dancer emerge gradually from the stone. (Turn My Mourning into Dancing)

My reflection: There were times in my life when I looked toward the heavens, screaming and beseeching God to stop my problems. I knew the saying, “God only gives us what we can handle,” and I had had enough. I felt pummeled and couldn’t understand why God thought I should be the grateful recipient of so much grief. Now, I better understand that everything in my life (both good and bad) provided a chance to learn and grow.

Today’s Promise to consider: Most of us want life to be easy, enjoyable and comfortable; however, today I acknowledge that the difficult times are what make us into the person we are. Like a sculptor chipping away at marble, the best version of me is underneath many layers.

 

 

 

 

 

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Barbara
Barbara
8 years ago

I often asked God, why me? Why did my son have to die? And, for 8 days, I asked that. My faith was tested on each and ever day for 8 days, after my son died of an overdose of heroin. I couldn’t eat, I didn’t sleep for 8 days, I couldn’t really pray. I didn’t know how to pray for that.

It’s been 5 years since my son passed away. Each and every year, my faith has gotten stronger and stronger. My faith came back to me slowly, but it came back.

This week’s meditation reminds me of the resentment and then the gratitude that I experienced because of my son’s demise.

I am so thankful that my faith came back to me in droves. I thank God every day for giving it back to me.

Faith, no matter what religion, is so important for all of us. Isn’t it?

With much love,
Barbara

Sue
Sue
8 years ago

I know in a lot of ways I have already become a better person. I certainly will not judge others as I have in the past. This experience has most definatly humbled me and for that I am grateful.

As for my faith, I am still struggling with that. So many times I have felt abandoned, questioned why me, asked for help and as far as I know, have not received it. Maybe there is a plan, maybe I have more to learn. I don’t know but that’s why I struggle and feel angry about it.
I am trying to work through this because I do believe I need something to hold onto and my faith has always guided me in the past.
I can only guess I am in the early stages of this new creation and will eventually, at least I hope, become the best person I can be.

My biggest problem with all this is patience which is not something I’m good at.

Sue

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

I didn’t think it was possible, but I did feel gratitude yesterday when I went to visit my son in jail on his 28th birthday. He wasn’t angry, demanding, selfish or blameful, like he was when he left our house 9 months ago to go to his 12th rehab in 14 years.

I hate that he’s in jail, and this time it will be for 3 years because he didn’t meet the terms of his probation and plea bargain by staying clean. When I finally let go in December, there was no one to help him or rescue him from these consequences.

He seemed grateful to see his father and me. It took me two months to decide to go, because I didn’t want to put myself through the emotional stress, and I wanted him to feel the pain of being without his family’s support. I thought that he was going to get a chance to go back to rehab, and I wanted him to get it this time. But now that the sentence has been finalized, my husband and I feel a need to give him some kind of support through the next few years.

I am worried about balancing support with letting go. He asked us for commissary money, saying that he can barely survive in jail without it. I know I can’t trust him, even in jail, but I also know that living in jail with nothing is not the way anyone should live.

I don’t want to go back in my recovery or continue to enable his dependence on us. It has taken me a long time to get this far. I was able to stay detached and say no by refusing his calls and pretty much cutting off contact. But three years of incarceration is a long time to cut off someone you love that is suffering.

As difficult as it was for me, I am glad I went because it did help to ease my pain. I hate that he is in jail but I am grateful that he is relatively safe and is not putting drugs into his body. And I am mostly grateful that he is acting like a human being. Last year I felt hate and resentment towards my son’s actions and his ugly illness, but today I feel love and compassion.

Thanks Libby and everyone for giving me a place to share.
Laura

Barbara
Barbara
8 years ago

Dear Laura,

When I read your posting, I cried. It reminded me of me of how I felt when I went to visit my son in prison. At first, I felt why should I have to subject myself to going to jail? I didn’t do anything wrong. But, I put those feelings aside and visited my son anyways.

I also understand how you feel about giving him some money while he’s incarcerated. I did the same thing. I also sent him goodie boxes regularly. I got some of the most precious letters from him, too. I saved them all.

Hate and resentment can turn to love overnight. Embrace it while you can.

All my love to you,
Barbara

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

Barbara,
Thank you for understanding how I feel. Keep sharing-your experience, though terribly painful, brings a powerful message to a parent like me.
Love and hope,
Laura