Spiritual guidance affirms the basic quest for meaning. It calls for the creation of space in which the validity of the questions does not depend on the availability of answers but on the questions' capacity to open us to new perspectives and horizons. We must allow all the daily experiences of life — joy, loneliness, fear, anxiety, insecurity, doubt, ignorance, the need for affection, support, understanding, and the long cry for love — to be recognized as an essential part of the spiritual quest.

The quest for meaning can be extremely frustrating and at times even excruciating, precisely because it does not lead to ready answers but to new questions. When we realize that the pain of the human search is a necessary growing pain, we can accept as good the forces of human spiritual development and be grateful for the journey on the long walk of faith.

Henri J. M. Nouwen, Spiritual Direction by Henri J. M. Nouwen, Michael J. Christensen, editor, Rebecca Laird, editor