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The Non-Possessive Life

To be able to enjoy fully the many good things the world has to offer, we must be detached from them. To be detached does not mean to be indifferent or uninterested. It means to be nonpossessive. Life is a gift to be grateful for and not a property to cling to. A nonpossessive life is a free life. But such freedom is only possible when we have a deep sense of belonging. To whom then do we belong? We belong to God, and the God to whom we belong has sent us into the world to proclaim in (God’s) Name that all of creation is created in and by love and calls us to gratitude and joy. That is what the “detached” life is all about. It is a life in which we are free to offer praise and thanksgiving.  by Henri Nouwen found at Soul Food UK

This passage connects nicely for me to the previous one I posted by Barbara Crafton.  We are called to nakedness which is also a call to freedom.

There is lots still stirring in me and I will have time to explore more later today or tomorrow.  My new computer is finally all set up and my DSL connection should be up and running this afternoon if all goes well.  In the meantime, Lenten blessings!  May you experience an inner loosening and release during this holy season.

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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6 Responses

  1. I found myself revisting this lovely post of yours recently Christine. I really love what you said here, both in the post and in your comment. As time goes on here i am finding it has really stirring something and i am very grateful…

    A Blessed Lent to You : ) Wendy

  2. You are most welcome Me and Milton.

    Thanks Wendy, I like this picture too. It looks like an Easter cross to me. I struggle with the idea of detachment as well, mostly because to me it often sounds cold and passionless which is not how I want to live my life. But at the same time we live in a culture that glorifies stuff and we can easily become enslaved by it all. I like the image of non-possession as opposed to detachment because for me it points to the fact that we don’t own anything ultimately. Certainly we can love things and care for them deeply, but we don’t own them and for me that feels like a healthy distinction.

    Blessings, Christine

  3. PS I aplologize if my comment was overanalyzing, i can tend to do that. I do really appreciate the belongness part of the quote, the freeing that really does give us when we know we are cared for like that…

  4. Hi Christine, This picture is just amazing!

    I’m not sure about the whole area of detachment though, i can gear away from it becuase i’ve seen it go so terribly wrong so often. There is often a judgement behind it, a judgement against true relationship, a stand aloneness hidden in there, that makes me very uncomfortable. I think relationship should extend not just to people but to the earth and even to some of our “things” , to keep is to care. What is the fear of possesion exactly? I guess i just dont get it, maybe i’m missing something. I definitely understand the fear of being possesed by too much stuff or too much busyness, but i think that just means letting go of what you dont need, and STILL being ‘attached’ to what you do need, like the needs of our body and the heart of our faith and the like. I think i fear detachment more than possesion.

    That being said, I look at my own life and can see i’ve a really low clutter tolerance, things are always being tossed or cleared out or given away, and I dont see that changing. But that’s becuase of the relationship element too–if i no longer have a relationship with something, and no longer am “keeping it”, then i know i’m not meant to have it so often out it goes. But what i do choose to have, i plan on ‘keeping’, not detaching from. I really like what your qoute said about belonging to God– but I think things belong to us in a sense too, that’s what stewardship and the like is about too. I sure hope God “posesses” us, and i dont think we are meant to ignore “posessing” in a posituive way either. Well…hope that makes sense, i have a hard time expressing this stuff.

    Back to your picture, i really do feel something. A freedom. And that freedom of the cross comes so beautifully from relationship…

    Blessed Week : ) Wendy

  5. I love his definiton of detachment. In that spirit, I wanted to say thanks for the book on making books you gave me. It arrived about a week ago and I love it. Thank you for being so generous and detached.