Nouwen on Choosing Joy

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ― Henri J.M. NouwenHenri Nouwen was a Catholic priest, held a PhD in psychology, was a pastor, teacher, author of 39 books, and a Christian contemplative. He struggled with depression. Many of his writings reveal the struggle he had with choosing joy on a daily basis. In the last ten years of his… life he found meaning and purpose through his participation among a L’Arche community of disabled adults near Toronto as their teacher, friend, and advocate. His writings are widely read and speak to universal feelings of longing for emotional and spiritual intimacy with God and other people. He writes frequently about solitude, loneliness, woundedness, forgiveness, healing, compassion, the power of Christ’s Holy Spirit to sustain us through suffering, and so much more.His personal journals reveal that he struggled with his sexual identity but there is no evidence that he ever broke his vow of celibacy. Faithfulness to the call on one’s life is not always easy, as Henry Nouwen’s life proved. But the things he was able to share with others as a result of his own struggles give those of us who have read Nouwen’s books the opportunity to explore our own struggles with more honesty, knowing that we are not alone in our quest for the same depth of relationship with God and others.