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Henri Nouwen, the widely read Christian author, was a professor at Yale University Divinity School and later at Harvard. He had a prestigious life filled with honor. But in 1986 he resigned from his job of teaching to become pastor for the Daybreak community of people with disabilities in Toronto, Canada.

He was welcomed into one of the homes and lived with the men and women with disabilities. One of Nouwen's tasks was to help Adam Arnett, a severely disabled man, with his morning routine. In Henri’s book "Adam, God’s Beloved", written shortly before he died, he describes how Adam became his friend, his teacher, and his guide.

Just a year after arriving in Daybreak, Henri suffered a severe depression. Nouwen wrote:

“I had been received with open arms, given all the attention and affection I could ever hope for, and offered a safe and loving place to grow spiritually as well as emotionally. Everything seemed ideal. But precisely at that time, I fell apart – as if I needed a safe place to hit bottom.”

Prior to that time his surroundings had been too ordered, too pleasant, perhaps even too superficial. But the Daybreak community was a safe, "real" place. A safe place to discover the brokenness that had been there all along.

SOURCE: Matthew Rogers Citation: Quote from Larry Crabb, "The Safest Place on Earth, p. 161." Biographical info from http://nouwen.net/henri.php3

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