Just enough light to see the next step

Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say “How will the next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?” There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do the coming hour or the following day.

The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step that follows, with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.

~ Henri Nouwen

Yet another gorgeous passage that I read on First Sip.  Nouwen’s words remind me of E.L.Doctorow’s famous quote about how we can only see as far as our headlights, but we can make the whole trip that way.  I think of those words every day.


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11 Comments

  1. Posted February 15, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Love E.L. Doctorow’s quote (which you introduced me to) and Nouwen’s words are beautiful–and very timely for me. xoxo

  2. Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I’m always reminded that Nouwen was a personal friend and inspiration for Mr. Rogers.

    admin Reply:

    Oh, wow. I did not know that. But it makes perfect sense!!

  3. Posted February 15, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    When my marriage was imploding, the best advice I got was to stop worrying about figuring out the whole big picture of what I needed to do. I only needed to figure out the right next thing to do.

    For someone who loves control and wants to make sure that where I end up is where I want to be, this was mind-blowing stuff. Eventually, it was life-transforming stuff. It’s how I live now. So so so much more happily and healthily.

  4. Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Another wonderful way of reminding us all to be in the present, and to enjoy it!

  5. Amy VanEchaute
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Henri Nouwen: one of my favorites! A beautiful passage, this. xo

  6. Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’ve never posted a comment twice but it’s just so odd that I found this a few minutes ago while editing an old piece of mine that I had to add it:

    We try to forget, more importantly we try to forgive. We shine flashlights into futures we have only partial control over, at best. We lose all of our todays until we wish we had them back again and so it goes, regret and promises to do it differently … tomorrow.

    admin Reply:

    Wow! I love that. Thanks so much for sharing it! xo

  7. Anna
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I can’t tell you what it means to read these words this week… I’ve been reading your blog for about 2 years now and am always finding gorgeous nuggets of wisdom both from your own words and the great writers you reference.

    My husband and I are relocating with our little ones, 3 1/2 & 9 months, and this means moving away from beloved family, friends, a wonderful neighborhood and our first house. At the moment this transition seems too much to handle, but reading this helps remind me that we will find our way, little by little.

    Thank you.

  8. Posted February 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I love this Lindsey. To live this way is truly a gift. Living for the moments right in front of us keep the worries at bay for sure. I’ve never been much of a worrier but I do worry about my children and their futures a lot. But that is futile as well so I realize that I turned out okay regardless of the dysfunction of my youth and hopefully my kids will do the same. 🙂

    Have a great weekend, sweets!

  9. Amy
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Needed this quote. Have been worrying about something I have absolutely no control over and that may happen in two weeks! Am going to try snd embrace just today snd the hours ahead!

  10. Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Oh my God! I have never read this before, but I love it and feel that it so perfdctly articulates the way I feel and the changes I’ve mad after years of struggling through murky waters.

    Thank you for sharing Lindsey!

  11. Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful quote. As a mom, I really try to live in the moment, and trust that I will know what to do.