"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.

4.12.2010

Abiding Monday




This excerpt is from "The Seeking Heart, A Journey with Henri Nouwen, by Charles R. Ringma


Without Hope, the cry of doubt

"While we may begin the journey of life with a gentle idealism, it is usually not too long before the sobering, and even wounding, experiences begin to sculpt a different perspective of life for us. Part of growing up is becoming "bloodied" in the process.

For many this sobering process is helpful and healthy. One cannot live well cocooned in naivete. Hence the bruising experiences of life bring strength. And our woundedness may become a gateway for faith leading to homecoming and healing.

But this picture may not be a good indication of what happens to others. The difficulties of life can bring in their wake questions of doubt and the experience of hopelessness. For some, these become religious questions that throw serious doubt on God's sovereignty and goodness in the face of personal tragedy and the ongoing madness of violence and war in our world. For others, the questions of doubt are shafted home: It must be my fault, my life in jinxed. And this so often leads to self-doubt and self-pity. There are people who live with the general dread that their life is somehow "cursed."

But possibly for most, the experience of both the goodness as well as the difficulties of life lead to the building of walls around us. And that wall may have deep fortifications within what was once a tender heart and soul. Here the way of the heart has become constricted. Defensiveness and hardness begin to dominate the inner soulscape.

We have all met hard and ruthless people, people seemingly without conscience and without the milk of human kindness. It is easy to see this in other. It is much harder to see it within ourselves, especially when this hardness spreads like a slow-growing cancer within the fabric of our being.

So, while many of us may not completely shut the gate, most of us do close down certain parts of our inner house. Henri Nouwen puts it as follows: "You hold fast to what is familiar, even if you aren't proud of it. You find yourself saying: 'That's just how it is with me. I would like to be different, but it can't be now. That's just the way it is.'"

The icy fingers of doubt and resignation have gripped the human heart. And so one lives without openness regarding a future for these matters. One has shut down.

To have doubt is one thing, but to be without hope is another. To have shut the door is a further step, abut cracks can appear in solid walls. Then sometimes trees spring up in the most barren and rocky terrain.

The beginnings of a turnaround usually do not start with some magic solution but with the cry of doubt. To pray a prayer of hopelessness is the beginning of prayer. And to start with acknowledging one's hardness is the beginning of hope.

The problem in the life of faith and prayer is not so much what we cry out to the heavens but that we don't cry out at all. The cry, whatever it may be, is an expression of life, while a sullen silence the rigor of death."


The tearing down of walls can be a scary and painful thing. But life on the other side of the wall is so much better. I get glimpses of it, and I want more.

Blessings!

26 comments:

Surprised By Joy! said...

I love this post... As a counselor I get to participate with the Holy Spirit in helping deconstructing the walls. When I see someone come out of hiding it is truly glorious.

I want to more to....

Blessings,
Tammy

jgr said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, Mary. It's just what I needed today.

The Charm House said...

Mary, I missed you so much Saturday! We had the best time and you would have loved it! Hopefully next time you will be there!
Yvette

sarah said...

really good stuff! thx mary! i have actually checked my dashboard a few times today waiting for your "abide monday" i was needing a message of hope! i can't tell you how much i appreciate you!......s

Ophelia said...

So timely....this is absolutely what I needed! Thanks for sharing it.

Buffy said...

Thats just the way God is,he knows what you need and when. Thanks Mary for letting him work through you. I have been thinking about walls because of being hurt through friends recently and then realizing they really were'nt my friends and I just was saying to myself I'm building a wall around me,to protect myself,how I don't need friends,theres no such thing as friends and then somebody came into my store today and I thought how fun it would be to be her friend,she always comes in and we always talk and she has ask me to lunch and of course I declined because of my wall. So basically I needed to hear that today.

CountryDreaming said...

God wants so much to bless us. How can He, if we put up blockades to stop Him? It's said that prayer is the key that opens the Heart of Jesus. I would add that trust is allowing Jesus in to dine with us when He stands at the door and knocks.

Mechelle said...

That is so true that we tend to stuff things in and accept it the disappointment or whatever pain comes our way.

My Journey to Hope said...

So true! I love Henri Nouwen's writings. I agree that the heart crying out in desperation is in a much better place than the heart that lies still and refuses to beat at all. Thanks for posting this!

:) Michelle

Peter Stone said...

Tearing down the walls we erect about ourselves is so crucial. That's a process I have seen God help me do time and again. At times painful, but the freedom that follows is wonderful.

Denise said...

Such a great post.

Sandra Hall said...

I agree, taking down the walls we build ourselves is a painful process, but God asks us to be vulnerable. Its the way we reach others.

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

This is a much needed message today Mary! Thanks! Have a great one!!

Debbie said...

mary this is so awesome...i was touched by the part that says "To have doubt is one thing, but to be without hope is another." How sad to live without hope! Hope is what Christ has given to us, through his death and resurrection. Hurray for Easter!

Martha Lever said...

Love this message, Mary. You always put up the things that I need to hear. But we do know that it's not you!!! Cant wait to show you what I've been making. It's so fun and I am addicted.

Lisa said...

I appreciate this post Mary : ) Thank you

CARMELINA LOUNSBURY said...

your sentiments are strong, and truthful...
as we get older and have more life experiences under our belt, we can become hardened and completely different from that soft, innocently sweet person we might have started out as.
our experiences shape us, whether they are good ones, painful memories, what have you, our lives are a continual change, a process..

we do need to 'cry out' at times...and therein' lies our own salvation!

well written, well put...
it was a deep, and truthful read!

ciao bella
thanks for sharing
creative carmelina was here!

S. Etole said...

Very good message, Mary ... thank you for sharing it with us.

Bren said...

Good stuff Mar. We are past the worst but have a lot of finish jobs to do. With my sisters help I've had to clean the house top to bottom of think layers of dust in & on everything, needless to say I'm in a world of hurt with the firbro, but the walls and floors look great :-) Hope to be back in blogger land soon!

Kim Mailhot said...

I have been making that cry lately, working on getting to the other side. I think all of our souls want more. The cry is getting louder, have you noticed ?
Big Love to you, Beautiful Seeker Lady.

caryjo said...

It's amazing how we ... probably most of us ... walk back and forth through that those stretches... trusting one time, doubting another, fearful another, leading to hopelessness ... and then, suddenly, back to trust. I watch myself walk through this over and over and keep saying to myself, Matt. 11:28-30 should be all you need to know and follow. Yep! Now, hopefully, before I die and go to heaven, I'll be faithful in that part of my walk here on earth. [at least it's one of my goals...]

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Mary, Mary, Mary! What a wonderful heart filled post. This book really gets deep within the soul and very personal. I love the part of the book you have shared here. So often I have wanted to shut down so that I didn't have to experience more pain, but truly I have found that the freedom comes with opening up and sharing your own story with others. You Mary, are a healer with your words and with your art. You open up some deep closed hearts with all that you share.

You are a blessing!
Lee Ann

Martha Lever said...

Hi Mar! Yep, I am in a bead craze!! The sticky back canvas has to be ordered. It's all around online. You can google it. I love it!!

Elena said...

What a great post. Needed to hear. And yes, once you experience the other side it gives you hope when you find yourself on the wrong side of the wall again. Because you know its achievable. Thanks for the reminder.

Bren said...

I'll play while you're driving, sure hope the trip goes well. Meg off to college, talk about another big change coming into your lives!

Jane Farr said...

Thank you Mary. It is so nice to pull my spirit into "A Splendid Adventure" for a fill up!