Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

A Visit from an Old Friend

I was reading through “The Gift of Peace: Personal Reflections” by the late Archdiocese of Chicago, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, and I was taken by his description of the visit he had with Henri Nouwen, just weeks before Nouwen’s death, and how Nouwen explained the power of friendship, of support. I can clearly see the Fifth Station of the Cross here.
Cardinal Bernardin wrote:

A very significant thing happened during the month of July last year. Father Henri Nouwen, a friend of mine for more than twenty-five years, paid me a visit. He had come to a conference in the metropolitan area and asked if he could come to see me. I said, “By all means.”
We spent over an hour together, and he brought me one of his latest books, “Our Greatest Gift: A Reflection on Dying and Caring.” We talked about the book, and the main thing I remember is that he talked about the importance of looking on death as a friend rather than an enemy. While I had always taken such a view in terms of my faith, I needed to be reminded at that moment because I was rather exhausted from the radiation treatments.
“It’s very simple,” he said. “If you have fear and anxiety and you talk to a friend, then those fears and anxieties are minimized and could even disappear.”
This conversation was a great help to me. It removed some of my anxiety or fear about death for myself.

  • Lisa K

    I think I am not afraid to die. I am afraid to live. Living is so hard with it’s nebulous times of unknowing and aloneness. But then, I should be careful to say, as I am not dying and leaving behind loved ones. I find this brings to my mind great sadness about living life being afraid of so many things. I shall have to read Henri Nouwen again as I have his book “The Wounded Healer” and maybe since it’s been many years since my first reading, there will be new things for me to understand and know. I shall have to watch again your post about the professor who did his last lecture for his children. There must be some advice there for me as well about living. It is a great comfort having a faith and knowing with sure certainty that I will be with Jesus when I die. What I have to learn is being with Jesus while I live and that He is always with me in life as well as death. Perhaps that is my lesson to learn and practice.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Lisa,

  • Lynne

    Dear Lisa, I have a hard time living in the now. It’s all too easy to wish yourself into not appreciating what you have right within your grasp. Sometimes just taking TIME to breathe ,and see, and smell,and just BE if only for a moment. “Be still and know that I am God.” I’m still a work in progress. Be gentle to you.

  • Annie Turner

    I’m not afraid of dying in matter of speaking. I’m afraid that I’ll die leaving things undone & then my life here will incomplete. So in my next life will be filled with questions just like this one is. God will send me back until I get right. So I’m hoping I finish this life on a upper note so maybe I can become a guardian angel or a spirit guide in my next life.

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