main image





Reaching for Clarity...

    Unfolding Full Potential

Volume I - Edition VI

Enjoy reading news items, articles, inspirational quotations and ideas of personal interest

Guest Article written for the Henri Nouwen Society:

On the Journey Towards Acceptance
written by JAN DAVIS

New Year's resolutions usually are about doing things differently. How many resolutions are about being?

Often we tend to accept ourselves - or not - according to what we do, what we have, or what we believe that others think about us. To move towards acceptance suggests a shift to full, conscious, and active participation in who we are. Henri Nouwen often spoke of "beloved" to describe our true identity. But how easy is it to accept ourselves as beloved?

As a mother whose sons were involved in 4-H, raising and showing sheep, I know sheep. I know their stinky smell, and their stupidity, and their unpredictability. I could preach a sermon about the Good Shepherd gathering the sheep - they were never where they were supposed to be. I could relate to being one of those sheep, knowing the stupid things they do.

Then last summer during a pilgrimage on the Scottish isle of Iona, with the air clean and thin, the sky clear and pure, I saw the white ones grazing on the green. The sheep on the lush grassy carpet, dappled with white wildflowers, reflected the serenity and rightness of being. They simply were - with a sense of belonging, content with green pastures, not striving to be other. For us on the journey towards acceptance as beloved of God, there is a rightness of being.

JAN DAVIS is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Her Doctor of Ministry is in Proclamation and Worship, and she leads retreats and parish missions. Jan is a Benedictine Oblate and spiritual director in San Antonio, Texas.

On the Journey Towards Acceptance" first appeared as a Weekly Reflection eLetter from www.HenriNouwen.org on April 26, 2007