All of us wonder do we matter or are we totally alone? In this work we look at the anxiety that is part of the human condition… we seek, with some of God’s lonely ones, to come to terms with who we are and live fully.
Only the wounded healer heals (Jung). Henri J. M. Nouwen explored this idea in his writings. He was in touch with his own wounds and fragility. By writing he helped others accept themselves in their brokenness. He was inspired by the art of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and the icons of Russia. We follow him in contemplating these works and this forms a healing space in which we come to know and accept ourselves. I also include ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd and then Nouwen’s meditation on being the ‘Beloved of God’. Vincent Van Gogh said that “Art is to console those broken by life”.This is the journey we are on.
“I’d say one [prayer] for myself, but I’ve never prayed in my life… Nobody ever taught me how…” is a line from the film Gravity. It is uttered by Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock. This line speaks of the plight of many who seek meaning, reassurance and love. In this book I look to the experience and writing of some of the artists of the infinite, the people who prayed. They experienced the life of prayer by engaging in faith in a life of prayer. They wrote about their experiences so that we, too, can experience God in a life of prayer. The cover of the book is a work by Vincent Van Gogh, “Still Life with Bible” (1885). The painting shows an old Bible resting on a table with a worn out copy of the novel “La Joie de Vivre” by Emile Zola. We place ourselves and our story before the Word of God and allow his word permeate our lives. Jesus is God’s Word made flesh (Jn 1:14) and he lives today. In prayer we meet him and by the power of the Spirit the love of God is poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5). This book takes us on a voyage of discovery to let this love in.
Loneliness is one of the modern diseases we find. We run from it but it never goes away. We seek distraction and when that doesn’t work “distractions from distraction” (Eliot). Yet the teaching of the Spiritual masters is that we shouldn’t flee – we should stay with our loneliness. Our tears express our loneliness and in the midst of tears we encounter a loving Presence. In this work we follow T. S. Eliot’s poetic journey from The Waste Land to the Four Quartets and meditate on the themes he introduces to us. In this way we allow our loneliness become a solitude where we encounter God and find new life in him. The fire of love burns in us. “We only live, only suspire. Consumed by either fire or fire.” (Four Quartets)