Nouwen: Easter Message
“When you forget your true identity as a beloved child of God, you lose your way in life.” —Henri Nouwen, “Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil: Be Not Afraid” from Fear to Love: Lenten Reflections on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Creative Communications of the Parish, 2009).
So many spiritual friends I talk with well understand Nouwen’s Easter message to us. For a multitude of reasons, often fear based, we lose our true identity. We forget that we are loved by God and seek love everywhere else. We stop becoming the person God created us to be and turn into the person others or our society wants us to be. We become people pleasers, fearing rejection. We become insecure, fearful, frightened, and look for relief in power, addictions, fame, money, or attachments to others. We grow dependent on what others think about us; or we may become paralyzed and unable to make any decisions. We eventually become acutely 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 who have gone through a similar experience.
As the alcoholic or addict in recovery stays sober and clean by telling his or her story, we talk to someone else who is seeking recovery and share 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.
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