Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Progressing through Holy Week (another thought from Henri)

As this holy week progresses, I'm pulling a bit into myself. Working through some things. Making some decisions. Navigating some changes that are small, and some that are rather large. I'll likely have a post about some of that sometime in the next day or so. But in the meantime, I hope you'll forgive me if I offer you the words of others more often than my own.

Today I have a thought on shyness from Henri Nouwen to share with you. I'm not a particularly shy person, but, as an introvert who definitely prefers a background role in large social settings (or just prefers to avoid said large social settings) I've often been accused of being shy. And, I do know some people who are genuinely shy. Anyway, I like the challenge of this thought. The invitation to a "wordless being together in love."

The Beauty of Shyness

There is something beautiful about shyness, even though in our culture shyness is not considered a virtue. On the contrary, we are encouraged to be direct, look people straight in the eyes, tell them what is on our minds, and share our stories without a blush.

But this unflinching soul-baring, confessional attitude quickly becomes boring. It is like trees without shadows. Shy people have long shadows, where they keep much of their beauty hidden from intruders' eyes. Shy people remind us of the mystery of life that cannot be simply explained or expressed. They invite us to reverent and respectful friendships and to a wordless being together in love.