Wednesday 1 March 2017

Book Review: The Genesee Diary

“People expect too much from speaking, too little from silence. . .” p. 134

I first heard of Henry Nouwen via quotations in our church in Alberta.  His thoughts and skill with
words drew me to read more.

I took my time with this book, as I think is fitting.  It takes time to let these lessons and ideas find purchase in your heart and mind.  I highly recommend it for spiritual guidance.  It would be ideal reading for the Lenten season.

Here are a few quotations which especially spoke to me.  (I realize now a lot of them have to do with writing):

“After a day without any writing. . . I often have a feeling of mental constipation and go to bed with the sense that I did not do what I should have done that day.” p. 121

“My idea of love proves to be exclusive. . . possessive. . . and manipulative.” p. 84

“Someone might read what I wrote and discover something there that I myself did not see, but which might be just as valid as my original thought.  It seems important to allow this to happen.”  (Not sure where this came from)

“John Eudes showed me how much my compulsive behavior could be seen as part of a way of being in which everything is experienced in terms of an “ought”.  I ought to be here, I ought to think such and such, etc.  This way of being has many levels and touches many aspects of the personality.  But when I am able to start seeing some of its symptoms from a certain distance and recognize them as symptoms of the “ought” compulsion, then I can slowly go all the way down to its roots and choose another way of relating to the world.
“As John Eudes pointed out, the “ought modality” is closely tied up with the identity struggle.  As long as I am constantly concerned about what I “ought” to say, think, do, or feel, I am still the victim of my surroundings and am not liberated.  I am compelled to act in certain ways to live up to my self-created image. But when I can accept my identity from God and allow him to be the center of my life, I am liberated from compulsion and can move without restraints.” p. 202-203

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