The Inner Voice of Who Knows What

the pilgrimage: Henri Nouwen and my own topsy-turvy little heart

Day 26: Better yet?

Henri, Receive All the Love that Comes to You:

While you may feel physically and mentally strong, you still experience a forceful undercurrent of anguish. You sleep well, you work well, but there are few waking moments when you do not feel that throbbing pain in your heart that makes everything seem up in the air. You know that you are progressing, but you can’t understand why this anguish keeps pervading everything you think, say, or do. There is still a deep, unresolved pain, but you cannot take it away yourself. It exists far deeper than you can reach.

Be patient and trust. You have to move gradually deeper into your heart. There is a place far down that is like a turbulent river, and that place frightens you. But do not fear. One day it will be quiet and peaceful.

You have to keep moving, as you are doing. Live a faithful, disciplined life, a life that gives you a sense of inner strength, a life in which you can receive more and more of the love that comes to you. Wherever there is real love for you, take it and be strengthened by it. As your body, heart, and mind come to know that you are loved, your weakest part will feel attracted to that love. What has remained separated and unreachable will let itself be drawn into the love you have been able to receive. One day you will discover that your anguish is gone. It will leave you because your weakest self let itself be embraced by your love.

You are not yet there, but you are moving fast. There will be a bit more pain and struggle. You have to dare to live through it. Keep walking straight. Acknowledge your anguish, but do not let it pull you out of yourself. Hold on to your chosen direction, your discipline, your prayer, your work, your guides, and trust that one day love will have conquered enough of you that even the most fearful part will allow love to cast out all fear.


Things are changing. The anguish does not have the same hold on me that it did two months ago; the once-paralyzing fear of unlove has dissipated; the brutality with which I treated my heart has softened; the pain of a chaotic and shame-filled inner life has become the embrace of a ‘normal’ and simply human imperfection.

I feel better. I am more healthy. I am loving more, being loved more. I have cast away the practices and choices that were holding me hostage.

The chapter today sounds just like my November, the anguish that characterized my fall.
But this is my January, a whole new season – post-rejection of those who once loved me, post-chaos of a hidden relationship, post-doubt of my integrity and true self, post-release of what once held me, post-Christmas trip that reminded me of my identity, post-Dream Camp where we celebrated deliverance and healing, post-embrace of freedom, post-resurrection.

Henri reminds me I’m not there yet. Henri, in his irritating wisdom and long-suffering, reminds me that this is why I chose to read him in the first place – to not let myself cut the healing short, when I felt maybe I had reached its end. Oh geez Henri, that really is annoying. Just when I felt like things had taken a turn for the better, you remind me I am only halfway through your little book.

Thanks, Henri, for keeping me moving. : )



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One thought on “Day 26: Better yet?

  1. Jessica, I hate to tell you this but this process never gets done. I struggle with some of the same issues.

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