Life of the Beloved is probably my favorite book when it comes to recovery and healing. Most of us who feel broken do so because at the root of our soul is a feeling that we don't belong. Betrayal, neglect and all forms of abuse embed in our hearts and whisper the message "you are worthless." It's this bitter root that drains life and which so many try to numb with any and all possible means--sex, food, drugs, power.
But, we can be creatively life-giving as much as we are creatively life-destroying.
Nouwen convinces us that deeper than the bitter root is the message "You are the Beloved." That we belong to Someone very special indeed. And, it's his voice we should listen to above all others.
“Aren't you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don't you often hope: 'May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.' But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.” - Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved