Our family recently returned from a trip to Peru. While there we worked with the children of a Pueblo Joven (slum). The week before and during the trip, I read the book Gracias by Henri Nouwen. This book is his journal from his living in Bolivia and Peru in the 1980’s.
I often find myself questioning what I should be doing, how can I maximize my impact in and on the world. In Peru, often times I found myself feeling like a waste. Anyone can hold a kids hand and show them how to use scissors for a craft and kick a soccer ball. I want to be useful and in control and powerful as I use who I am…the danger is that I trick myself into thinking that I AM. I love Henri’s words…
“All questions have only one answer: God. What am I supposed to think about? About God, because all thoughts find their creative power in him. What am I supposed to say? His Word, because all my words are fruitful to the degree that they are a reflection of his. What am I supposed to do? His will, because his will is the loving desire that gave existence to all that is, myself included.
Is it better to be in Bolivia, in Peru, in the United States, or in Holland? Is it better to give a glass of water to a thirsty child or to work on a new world order in which children will no longer beg for water? Is it better to read a book or to walk on the street, to write a letter or bind the wounds of a dying man? Is it better to do this or that, think about this or that?
All these questions suddenly appear to me as false preoccupations, as a captivity in the illusory concern about my existence, as an expression of my sick supposition that God depends on me, that his existence is derived from mine.”
God doesn’t depend on me.
I depend on God.
As I serve others (for no reason or purpose other than to give up myself) I enter into a new way of seeing and relating to Jesus).