"Writing about the spiritual life
is like making prints from negatives....
Often it is the dark forest
that makes us speak about the open field.
Frequently prison makes us think about freedom,
hunger helps us appreciate food,
and war gives us words for peace.
Not seldom are our visions of the future
born out of the sufferings of the present
and our hope for others out of our own despair.
Only few 'happy endings' make us happy,
but often someone's careful and honest articulation
of the ambiguities,
and painful conditions of life
gives us new hope.
The paradox indeed is that
new life is born out of the pains of the old."
Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out