Home > People > How Do You Define Your Desire To Be Useful?

How Do You Define Your Desire To Be Useful?

Danielle Laporte posted this quote today, and it was too good to keep to myself.  I think Henri Nouwen was on to something. He has a clear mission and defines his own desire to be useful, but he is wise enough to question it. 

The Desire To Be Useful

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.” 

Henri Nouwen, Catholic Priest

How do you define your desire to be useful? Does it change with age or wisdom?  I don’t think anyone knows with 100% certainty how to answer these questions, but isn’t it important to ask them?

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  1. Bill Spinks
    October 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm
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