Henri Nouwen, Home Tonight
I kneel at the altar, and rest my head in the cradle I have made of my arms. I am at Dorchester Abbey on day-retreat, as in November. This time I am the worse for wear. And tear. I want to tear, and tear, and tear at myself. But it is never enough. I am beyond tired, and heavy, but I have cajoled my body into getting here. My body doesn’t want to be anywhere, anymore.
But kneeling at the altar is rest. It is rest and calm, and quiet and solitude. My arms are not my own, but God’s. I am held. I am held, but still it hurts. The rejection and resentment and ostracism hurt. The stress of my parents’ house, of church, of work, of not being able to work, of having no work, is too much. I cannot stand it anymore, God. I fold. I fold and crumble, give way to tears. Tears that I haven’t been able to cry for a long time. But I am held, and I am heard. My head is in God’s hands. There is calm. I fold. I fold and crumble, give way to tears. Tears that I haven’t been able to cry for a long time. But I am held, and I am heard. My head is in God’s hands. The worries that spin and circle, are in God’s hands, too.
After a while, I wander outside, in the afternoon sun. Down to the Thames. Down to the river. And the sun is warm, and my feet don’t want to take me any further. So I stop, and sit, and watch the river. And I catch sight of a red admiral in the long grass. The first butterfly I’ve seen this year. And the water ripples in the breeze, and then stills. And I am still again. There is a lot that isn’t OK right now. But it is in God’s hands. I can rest awhile, and watch the water, for now. God grants me peace.