QOD: Making prints from negatives

“And so, writing about the spiritual life is like making prints from negatives. Maybe it is exactly the experience of loneliness that allows us to describe the first tentative lines of solitude. Maybe it is precisely the shocking confrontation with our hostile self that gives us words to speak about hospitality as a real option, and maybe we will never find the courage to speak about prayer as a human vocation without the disturbing discovery of our own illusions. Often it is the dark forest that makes us think about the open field. Frequently prison makes us think about freedom, hunger helps us to appreciate food, and war gives us words for peace. Not seldom are our visions of the future born out of the sufferings of the present and our hope for others out of our own despair. Only few ‘happy endings’ make us happy, but often someone’s careful and honest articulation of the ambiguities, uncertainties and painful conditions of life give us new hope. The paradox is indeed that new life is born out of the pains of the old.”

Henri Nouwen

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