Henri Nouwen | Nathan Colquhoun

Henri Nouwen

April 17, 20064

My friend Phil just e-mailed me this quote from Henri Nouwen.
This is really something that has been on my heart a lot lately

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets.

It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”


  • Jamie Arpin-Ricci

    April 17, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Nouwen has been so important in my spiritual journey. Thanks for the quote.


  • jordan

    April 19, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    hey nathan, can you tell me which of his books that quote came from? –


  • Anonymous

    April 19, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    gonna be honest, i have no idea, my friend just e-mailed it to me and i asked him and he didn’t know either, sorry.


  • joe

    April 20, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    it’s either from “out of solitude” or “the way of the heart”

    i’m guessing the latter.


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