A Letter of Consolation by Henri J. M. Nouwen

By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Discovering religion in a Time of Sorrow liked writer Henri Nouwen displays at the non secular importance of dying and lifestyles during this relocating meditation devoted to "all those that undergo the discomfort that dying can convey and who look for new life."

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If mother’s death were to lead us onto that road, her death would have no real meaning for us. Her death would be or become for us a death that closes the future and makes us live the rest of our lives in the enclosure of our own past. Then, our experience of powerlessness would not give us the freedom to detach ourselves from the past, but would imprison us in our own memories and immobilize us. Thus we would also lose the autonomy you have always held so dear. I think there is a much more human option.

Death has often affected people in this way, as we know too well. The death of husband, wife, child, or friend can cause people to stop living toward the unknown future and make them withdraw into the familiar past. They keep holding on to a few precious memories and customs and see their lives as having come to a standstill. They start to live as if they were thinking, “For me it is all over. ” As you can see, here the opposite of detachment is taking place; here is a reattachment that makes life stale 50 and takes all vitality out of existence.

What has all of this to do with mother’s death and with our death? A great deal, I think. Certainly much more than we might realize.

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