Saturday, August 06, 2005

Their dreams fell through

From a poem by one of the homeless men (Thomas) at Room at the Inn:

Homeless people are just like me and you
The only difference is that
their dreams fell through.

I have reread Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming. In it Nouwen recounts his experience with Rembrandt's painting depicting this story of homelessness. At the time he first saw the painting, Nouwen was suffering from a persistent feeling that he needed to do something else than teach theology at Harvard. He was, in a sense, looking for a home. Ultimately, he joined the L'Arch Daybreak community as a pastor to the retarded and handicapped.

In the book, he says that one of the great mysteries of our faith is that God chose us and will not let us go. From all eternity we are hidden in the shadow of his hands and engraved on his palm (Isaiah 49).Before any human being touches us, God forms and textures us and knits us together in our mother's womb. Psalm 139. He loves us with a "first" love, an unconditional, unlimited love.

And because of this love, God is "looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home." Nouwen concludes the chapter by writing, "(God's)
love is the love that always welcomes home and always wants to celebrate." Even when "all our dreams have fallen through," and we stand before him destitute and empty.

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