It was amazing how pertinent some of these meditations felt to our current situation -- there was one in particular that seemed to be written about social distancing -- when they were written in the 1980s. The reflections were really beautiful, and they are meant to be read and digested slowly. I kind of abused the format of the book because I can really only read uninterrupted during one part of my day, so I read quite a few of them at once when I got my daily "reading time." But if I had known the format beforehand, perhaps I would have adjusted my reading schedule so that each reflection could be savored.
Although many of the essays remained relevant to things I am facing in my life right now, I also saw how they would have spoken to me at different points in my life, too. In particular, this book would be a particular balm to someone who had recently suffered through rejection or unrequited love. The primary theme is about building up your inner sense of self-worth so that you are less dependent on the approval of others.
This is part of my Year of Expanded Reading, which is a focus on reading books by non-white and/or non-American authors. Nouwen was a Dutch priest who spent his life in Holland, the U.S., Peru, and France. Because of the universal spirituality of Catholicism and the "Western" ideologies of the Netherlands, this book did not push me too far outside my comfort zone culturally.