Saturday, December 10, 2022

Henri Nouwen in the restaurant

Henri Nouwen had an unfinished manuscript at the time of his death in 1996 about what he had learned (the intimacy and spirituality of interconnected teamwork etc) through watching and befriending a traveling trapeze troupe . The book just came out this year with the help of a friend .  The book is very different than his 40 books on the spiritual life .

Here is the section I had in mind. Prepare yourself!

And it is absolutely nowhere online .. until now 😎

I’ll post it without comment .. and duck !  I’ll chime in after some of you do .

“As Henri became more at home in his body , he raised with several editors the possibility of writing a book that would directly explore the questions of sexuality . By the next summer, he mused to a journalist , ‘Every human lives a sexual life , whether you’re celibate [as Nouwen was as a priest/pastor] or whatever . Sexual life is life . That sexual life has to be lived as a life that deepens the communion with God and with our fellow human beings . And if it doesn’t , it can become very harmful . I haven’t found the language for   It yet and hope I will someday .’

Gradually , Henri began to feel a little  more free, even playful. Early in 1996, he amused some of his New York editors over an elegant lunch at the Barbetta restaurant by blurting out happily , ‘Don’t think that I don’t want to have sex with everyone in this restaurant! I have fantasies just like everyone else !’  His editors stared in astonishment, looked speculatively around the restaurant, and then they all burst out laughing together with Henri.”

-p.203,”Flying, Falling, Catching: an unlikely story of finding freedom “ by Henri Nouwen and Carolyn Whitney-Brown .