I have been reading “Sabbatical Journey: The Diary of His Final Year” by Henri Nouwen over the past three months. I have felt a strong connection with Henri for a few years, but I’ve recently felt an even greater kinship since getting to know his close friend Nathan Ball and also having a heart attack as Henri did twice and eventually died from the second attack in 1996.
Henri didn’t know that his sabbatical year was going to be his last on earth. He had written and published journal-style books a couple of times previously. Both “The Road to Daybreak” and “The Inner Voice of Love” were diaries of significant times in his life. Henri always wrote. And his interaction with God and others has made for instructional and inspirational reading for many, many people.
I have the feeling that I need to write for publication. I’m not sure if it’s because of my exposure to Nouwen and experiencing his books so profoundly or because writing comes naturally. I am able to share from my heart so readily. I have thought about turning my heart attack experience into a book.
It’s possible that my heart attack was a catalyst to get me to listen to God’s voice that has been calling me to write for some months, years. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a certain freedom that comes from a near death experience that I had only theorized about in the past. We all tend to theorize about life’s “what if’s.” If I won the lottery, I would…. The truth comes when we have the fulfillment of one of those “what if” scenarios.
I started a book in the summer of 2011 and had the manuscript pretty well completed by the beginning of 2012. I had asked a few friends to read it and received some good feedback, but the publishing process had stalled out, as I had no sense of urgency.