Priest and writer Nouwen went from teaching in American universities to serving severely handicapped people at L’Arche Daybreak in Canada. He kept this diary during a sabbatical that turned out to be the last year of his life. Some diaries seem a record of random events, but a remarkable unifying feature of Nouwen’s record is his daily celebration of the Eucharist, alone or with friends who happen to be around him. Another is his genuine engagement with the hundreds of people he encounters.
Nouwen’s fans will welcome occasional glimpses into his inner life. For example, after recording factual events for days, he will mention that he has been struggling with anguish, loneliness and the need for acceptance. Throughout, he ponders what to do after his sabbatical and his desire (mixed with fear) to break out of the roles his church and public expect of him. By the end, he feels ready for a new direction. Anyone who already knows and enjoys Nouwen’s writing will want to read this book.