My Word for the Year: Nouwen


"When we are free from the need to judge or condemn, we can become safe places for people to meet in vulnerability and take down the walls that separate them. Being deeply rooted in the love of God, we cannot help but invite people to love one another. When people realise that we have no hidden agendas or unspoken intentions, that we are not trying to gain any profit for ourselves, and that our only desire is for peace and reconciliation, they may find the inner freedom and courage to leave their guns at the door and enter into conversation with their enemies.

Many times this happens even without our planning. Our ministry of reconciliation most often takes place when we ourselves are least aware of it. Our simple, nonjudgmental presence does it." ~HN has a challenge: choose ONE WORD for the year. No lengthy lists of resolutions.


It's a word to permeate aspects of our lives, known and unknown, that will give us pause, growth, challenge and life. In a year, who knows where we'll be. A friend of mine challenged me with this idea a couple months ago. I'm still a little leery… not because I don't find this to be intriguing, but rather because I was struggling to find the depth in it.

Sometimes I tire of spirituality that sounds so full of sugar and self that I start to feel sick. We profess it's love for God and of the other, but we focus on ourselves to such a football field's degree that nothing really grows underneath us. 

So I came to a space where perhaps I could engage deeply.

Instead of a concept… a person.

Instead of an abstract… a concrete.

Not to worship. Not to agree with every detail.

But a face.

A smile.

A life of wisdom.

To me, this began to make more sense than pulling a word out of the ether. 

The first name that floated into my brain this morning?


So that's my word for the year: Nouwen.

Let's see where this goes.

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