we are called to speak to people not where they have it together but where they are aware of their pain, not where they are in control but where they are trembling and insecure, not where they are self-assured and assertive but where they dare to doubt and raise hard questions; in short, not where they live in the illusion of immortality but where they are ready to face their broken, mortal, and fragile humanity.
from the selfless way of christ by henri nouwen
these days, i am devoting most of my time to finishing out the last two months of my master's degree program by creating an original business plan. i have chosen a product concept that empowers women to discover and embrace their authentic identity, and to learn to do this while walking alongside other women committed to that same brave work in their lives.
this means i've been thinking a lot about how identities are formed, what brings us to a place of questioning the authenticity of those identities, and how we move toward greater understanding and truth-telling in our worlds in this area.
that's kind of a mouthful, but i guess it boils down to this: i'm spending most of the waking hours of my days thinking about a woman's heart, how it ticks, what moves it this way and that, how she develops a sense of self and self-worth, how she musters the courage to face hard questions and speak brave answers, how she feels she is seen, heard, and wholeheartedly embraced. i have such compassion for each of us along this journey of life and growth, because i, too, know how difficult it is and how great the resistance we face (both internally and externally) and how often we can feel that we're merely floundering about, at best. how do we live in this place? how does growth and recognition and transformation truly happen?
i love that my next degree program in spiritual formation will grow my thoughts deeper in this direction.
i'm also spending a lot of time these days in really rich books about how silence and solitude strengthen the heart and create still points of grace and truth before God, about how fragile and beautiful is the humanity that connects us, about how much there is to be learned in the story of each of our journeys, about how freshly awakened we feel when others walk with us hand in hand.
in light of all this dreaming and creating and thinking and reading, the quote above from henri nouwen perfectly expresses the conviction i am coming to hold for the meaning of life, flowing from a real experience of God's grace, truth, and love. i'm coming to believe that our aim is to accept with grace the limits of our humanity and offer this same gift to other travelers we meet along the way. this is love, and this is grace, and this is where God's ministry is found.