Nouwen: Our Twilight Zone
“There is a twilight zone in our own hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves.” Henri Nouwen, Henri Nouwen Society Daily Meditations March 24, 2018, from Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen, 1997 HarperSanFrancisco.
I do believe it is not a coincidence that certain people come into our lives. I remember Catherine Marshall talking about praying for patience, and soon afterwards she hired the slowest housekeeper. I learned about homosexuality through so many gay friends especially Richard and Terry and Joe as I walked beside them seeing their struggle. I learned about the depth, love, and the concern for others in those of the Moslem faith through my radiology residents and partners, especially Sadaf and her family.
These are all people I already loved. Today I am getting just a little hint that I also have much to learn from the people who come into my path with whom I have difficulty. Over and over I know I am to learn from them about forgiveness, for I know if I cannot forgive the harm they have brought to my life, I continue to let them hurt me. Slowly I also am learning about my part, my character defects, my sins, my hubris, my self-centeredness that had a part to play in the difficult situation.
As I meet with friends for spiritual direction we often discuss what is the lesson that God is telling and teaching us in every situation and every person with whom our lives intersect whether it be a joyful or difficult experience. Again, this is where we learn about ourselves, especially that twilight zone in ourselves that Nouwen describes, as well as learning about the twilight zone in others.
The sacred place where God heals us is in community, especially as we enlarge our community and take down fences and walls.