When someone gives us a watch but we never wear it, the watch is not really received. When someone offers us an idea but we do not respond to it, that idea is not truly received. When someone introduces us to a friend but we ignore him or her, that friend does not feel well received.
Receiving is an art. It means allowing the other to become part of our lives. It means daring to become dependent on the other. It asks for the inner freedom to say: "Without you I wouldn’t be who I am." Receiving with the heart is therefore a gesture of humility and love. So many people have been deeply hurt because their gifts were not well received. Let us be good receivers.
Yes, another quote of Henri Nouwen. I have joined the Henri Nouwen society (which you can all do for free at www.HenriNouwen.org) and this was today’s meditation.
I liked it quite a bit. We all have trouble receiving someone else’s love and gifts and support from time to time. It is hard for us to imagine being dependant when so much of our time seems consumed with independence.
I learned this lesson not to long ago when our parish of St. Mark’s by-the-Lake so generously collected and gave to my family in the midst of their turmoil. That was a few months ago and it still makes me emotional to think about it really. You see I have a couple of twin great nieces (and they are great) Andrea and Becky who have a life threatening genetic disorder known as Batten Disease. They are only four and they are precious.
Being over 3000 km away from the family means that I have to be there with prayers and support from a distance. Catherinanne and I do so as best we can. It was in the middle of all of this that I learned how much “receiving is an art.” We have received the gifts of the parish in November a tremendous amount was collected. We have received the kindness of so many. In December a kind couple who belong to another parish but are related to ours came and brought hand made quilts for the twins and their older sister Leah. It was such a totally unexpected act of love and kindness and of course, generosity. We delivered those in February thanks again to the generosity of another of Christ’s servants who parted with hard earned air miles. We have received the support of our parish family. We have received the prayers of so many, so very many. Those prayers have been from parishioners, colleagues, and strangers. We have come to know about love as poured out in community. It is true, "Without you I (we) wouldn’t be who I(we) am.(are)" The prayers are so very much appreciated by not just Catherinanne and I, but by my entire family – especially my Nephew Gary, his wife Annette and their Children Andrea, Becky, and Leah.
And just know that we all are so appreciative that you care. Nothing more can or needs to be said.
Some of you have asked for photos to put a face on your prayers. Look at the cuties below!