Nouwen: Easter message
“When you forget your true identity as a beloved child of God, you lose your way in life. You become preoccupied trying to please others and you lose the confidence to be yourself. You work hard to avoid rejection, or abandonment, and you may cling to people more from fear than freedom. In making compromises you may please people but lose touch with your original blessing, the connection to the deep and everlasting love of God.
Jesus announces to us, "Do not be afraid. I dwell in you till the end of time." Henri Nouwen, Henri Nouwen Society, Daily Meditation. From Bread for the Journey, Henri J. M. Nouwen, 1997 HarperSanFrancisco.
So many spiritual friends I talk with so well understand Nouwen’s Easter message to us. For a multitude of reasons, often fear based, we lose our true identity. We stop becoming the person God created us to be. We become insecure, fearful, frightened and look for relief in power, addictions, fame, money, attachments to others and become dependent on what others think about us, or we may become paralyzed and unable to make any decisions. We eventually become very aware that we have lost our connection to God. Where can we find help?
My experience is that it is in community where we are helped. We talk with others who can share their connection to God. In recovery groups this is known as “sticking with the winners,” “staying close to those who still have their lights on.” Eventually we are healed, and we stay connected by reaching out to others in need who have gone through a similar experience.
As the alcoholic or addict in recovery stays sober and clean by sharing his or her story, we talk to someone else who is seeking recovery and tell them our story of Resurrection from Good Friday.
Some may not call it Easter, but that is what it is. I was reminded of this by a dear friend, Jim Waldron, who now lives in the resurrection, who indeed did become sober on Easter Sunday many years ago.