A couple of weeks ago, my sister sent me this quote by Henri Nouwen. (Because that is type of well-read, thoughtful sister she is.)

Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger.  Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures.  The careful balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community forms the basis of Christian life and should therefore be the subjects of our most personal attention.  Let us therefore look somewhat closer, first at our life in action, and at our life in solitude.

Out of Solitude, Henri Nouwen

This evening, I did a quick little Google search to discover what I should already know about Nowen. I read what he had to say about caring for others. Then I read what he had to say about solitude, community and ministry. And without skipping a beat, I hopped over to Amazon to order a copy of Out of Solitude. Because I so want to learn to embrace moments that are just me and my Gods, to live a life with space to breathe, recharge, dream, and connect, to revel in the juxtaposition between solitude and community, to be better acquainted with that which is known somewhere.

Have you read Out of Solitude? Or other Nouwen books? What did you think?

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I’ve never read any Nowen, but I love that quote. I’m adding it to my Amazon wish list right now. Also, I love the new look of your site! 🙂

  • I’ve read multiple books by Nouwen. “The Inner Voice of Love” is among my all time favorite books. Also his book on prayer “With Open Hands” is very good.

  • I read In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, and really enjoyed it. I’d definitely like to read more of his work.

  • N.A Winter

    Nouwen is one of my favorite authors, and “Life of the Beloved” is on of my all-time favorite books. I also recommend “Here and Now.”

  • Suzielind

    One of my all time favorite books is In the Name of Jesus. I also really love His Lent devotional book. By the way, I like the colors.

  • Lindsey, Out of Solitude is one of my favorite books. Nouwen’s thoughts on “care vs. cure” just changed the way I viewed my relationships in life. His book “in the name of Jesus” talks about his ministry and life at L’Arche, a community for the severely disabled. Oh, and the book, I think called “Spiritual Disciplines” is soo good. OK, I”m clearly a fan.

  • I read “The Way of the Heart” last year. Really, really enjoyed it. Highly recommend.

  • Brad

    I consider Henri Nouwen one of my spiritual mentors. His books have been inspirational. He writes in a humble and insightful manner that makes you feel he’s a close friend. I would highly recommend his book “The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming”.

  • Ohhh love this! Thanks for sharing, Lindsey!

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  • Alicia

    Love love love Henri Nouwen. “In the Name of Jesus” and “The Prodigal Son” have both been huge in my spiritual journey. He’s one of those people who was honest in his struggles and humble in his faith.

  • have not read it. maybe i can when you are done??

  • Last year, I read Way of the Heart, and it centered me – deeply. It’s such a great reminder that in order to truly connect with God – we’re gonna have to unplug at some point from the relentless world we live in. I’ve got three dates on my calendar this year that include me, my bible (the real one – the one I can hold and feel), and nothing else.

  • I pretty much own every one of his books, so, yup. I’m a fan.

  • I’m a frequent reader of your blog, but not a frequent commenter. However, when a post comes along that speaks exactly to what your heart needs at that moment, you must take time to leave a message 😉

    Earlier in the day, I saw you had posted, but didn’t get a chance to read until tonight. It has been a rough couple of days with teenage foster daughter, I think mostly because she is struggling with the idea of going home soon after living in my stable environment for 8 months (and another stable home for 6 months before that). Tonight she was angry and told me she didn’t want me around, but later she sat in the living room where I always sit. And there we sat, in silence, as I read your post and the links…and I cried. Not being able to “fix it” is so hard, and so was keeping my mouth shut, so reading words like “Those who can sit in silence with their fellowman not knowing what to say but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life in a dying heart” and “Compassion means to be with people where they are hurting; be with people where they are suffering; be with people who don’t know what to do. Just be there and say, “‘I am your brother. I am your sister. I am not going to let you alone. I am going to enter in the place of pain with you and that is where you will find healing'” was exactly what this girl needed.

    Thank you for always sharing your heart here.
    Take care.

  • “In the Name of Jesus” is a great book on leadership!

  • How have I never heard of him?? That’s a powerful quote! And a powerful topic. Looks like I’ll be adding another book to the “eventually I won’t be in seminary and will have time to read books that I WANT to read at a faster than snail’s pace” list. 🙂

  • Reading “The Prodigal Son” by Nouwen. My first exposure. So far so good.

  • I read the Way of The Heart by Henri Nouwen and then, I was hooked and bought every book Nouwen has written. Completely changed my life to learn and grow more comfortable with being alone. It helpes me sit on the edge between loneliness and contentment. Out of Solitude is awesome, but I’m biased. I think every one of his books make me journal and go deeper. 😉

  • I read this post quickly, then went back and read the quote several more times, slowly. I too am going to have to add this book to my reading list. Thanks for sharing.