Posted: August 25, 2009 in Uncategorized
Wow, has it ever been busy here.  Yesterday, I was simply too busy to turn on my computer and check e-mails.  I hate doing that because the next day I will have a gazillion e-mails to go through which makes me not want to open my computer and so the longer I wait the more emails I will have and so it just doesn’t work to keep putting off opening the computer.

Yesterday I spent almost three hours in the morning at the American Consulate to get just one document notarized.  I don’t mind the wait and always bring some reading material with me. 
I brought a little book by Henri Nouwen and want to share with you a bit of what he says.  I’m not sure if I agree with all of what he says but it is still good stuff to think on.

Control Your Own Drawbridge

"You must decide for yourself to whom and when you give access to your interior life. For years you have permitted others to walk in and out of your life according to their needs and desires.  Thus you were no longer master in your own house, and you felt increasingly used. So, too, you quickly became tired, irritated, angry, and resentful.

Think of a medieval castle surrounded by a moat. The drawbridge is the only access to the interior of the castle. The lord of the castle must have the power to decide when to draw the bridge and when to let it down. Without such power, he can become the victim of enemies, strangers, and wanderers. He will never feel at peace in his own castle.

It is important to control your own drawbridge. There must be times when you keep your bridge drawn and have the opportunity to be alone or only with those to whom you feel close. Never allow yourself to become public property, where anyone can walk in and out at will. You might think that you are being generous in giving access to anyone who wants to enter or leave, but you will soon find yourself losing your soul.

When you claim for yourself the power over your drawbridge, you will discover a new joy and peace in your heart and find yourself able to share that joy and peace with others."  Henri Nouwen

We have a couple of midwives with us and they seem normal enough but then again they’ve only been here a couple of days



  1. Tara says:

    I like the drawbridge analogy … I struggle to find the right balance with people and know that much of my struggles is a desire to put my kids before other people.The midwives are normal. I bet you are kind of disappointed. Less blog material. 🙂

  2. John says:

    I can\’t say that Beth and I have been very good at keeping our drawbridge closed. In our 20 years here we have had thousands of visitors who have largely enriched our lives and the lives of our children. Yet it also has meant that our children at times did not receive the attention so that is so important in nurturing your children. There is much of what I like about what Nouwen has written and some that I don\’t want to like because it goes against how we have lived our lives. I realize that even Jesus did not open himself to everyone and at times he just slid away from the crowd to be alone. He, at other times, would be selective with whom he allowed to go with him. It is a hard call, especially for those of us who almost daily receive emails from people that want to come and visit or volunteer. Yet so many of us who are here in Haiti full time came first on a short term group.Beth and I have been extremely blessed to have people lower their drawbridges and care for our children, especially when they left Haiti to begin lives in the States. We firmly believe this partly is simply God looking out for our children through others as we have looked out for the children of others.I believe and perhaps that this is what Nouwen is saying, that there is a time to lower the drawbridge and a time to close it.

  3. Tara says:

    I agree John … I never want to close myself off to meeting cool people and being used to draw them to Haiti … or any other mission field. You and Beth played a role in confirming our "call" here and we thank you for that. We love you both so much. But – this ends the mushy stuff and now I will find something to tease you about … are you wearing your "Grandpa" shirt for the fifth time this week? See you tomorrow. T.

  4. John says:

    Please Tara, don\’t exaggerate. I only wore it four times this week before somehow Beth got it and threw it in the laundry.

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