Henri Nouwen: Detachment

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For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8:35

“Things that made us worry greatly later prove to be quite insignificant, and things to which we hardly gave a thought before they took place turn our lives around. Thus our autonomy is rooted in unknown soil. This constitutes the great challenge: to be so free that we can be obedient, to be so autonomous that we can be dependent, to be so in control that we can surrender ourselves. Here we touch the great paradox in life: to live in order to be able to die. That is what detachment is all about. Detachment is not the opposite of autonomy but its fruit.”

Henri Nouwen in A Letter of Consolation (New York: HarperOne, 2009) 49. Let me know if you want this PDF. It’s powerful.

Got to see a dear Aussie mate, Tim Macready, this weekend. He was visiting Denver and plans to move here with his family in a few months.

He reported that packing up his home in Sydney into a shipping crate has been hard because they have accumulated so many things. As a shrewd steward, he added that while most of the things they possess they acquired for little or no money, the stewardship of them was still a burden.

Things. Notice what Henri writes about things.

“Things that made us worry greatly later prove to be quite insignificant, and things to which we hardly gave a thought before they took place turn our lives around.” The reason for detachment from things is it positions us to take hold of what really matters.

So, what worries you greatly today?

Tim is realizing that downsizing will allow him to travel through life with less burdens. It will free him to live, give, serve, and love more generously.

What about you? Are there things from which it is time to detach?