Some things I have learned what it means to care

out-of-solitude

First of all, everyone should read the little book, Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen, which is the basis for this blog. It’s only 63 pages and you can read it in an hour or two and be radically changed.

Care at its core means “to grieve, to experience sorrow, to cry out with.” It means weeping with those who weep. It means sharing joy and laughter. It means that I come out of my protective shell, become vulnerable and step into your world. It means that I realize that there is no one anywhere that I can not identify with if I am honest with myself. I have it in me to be kind or cruel, honest or a liar, warm-hearted or cold-blooded, etc. It means that I don’t have to give the right answers or even give answers at all. I can sit with someone who is hurting and cry with them and let that be enough.

One old saying that I like goes like “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Jesus is the best at this.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Henri Nouwen writes, “By the honest recognition and confession of our human sameness we can participate in the care of God who came, not to the powerful but to the powerless, not to be different but to be the same, not to take our pain away but to share it. Through this participation, we can open our hearts to each other and form a new community.” A “fellowship of the broken,” as he calls it.

I am broken and empty of anything God can use. I am full of myself and until I learn to empty myself of all that I think is so good about me and let God fill me with Himself, I can never truly care and serve. Until I give up the desire to do good make a name for myself and simply be available to people in need, I miss the blessing of seeing God really work through me. That’s what I want. That’s what I need. That is community.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.

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