Henri Nouwen was well-respected priest, professor, lecturer and author. He wrote over 40 books and taught at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard. At the seeming peak of his life and popularity, Nouwen suddenly turned his back on these and joined the L’Arche Daybreak community in Canada whose mission it was to care for disabled people.
From being a busy academic whose life was spent studying, teaching, and meeting people, he now had the daily and solitary task of caring for Adam, a young man who could not walk nor talk. Day in and day out, Nouwen would give Adam his bath, feed him, change him, and take care of his every need.
One day a reporter came to him and interviewed him regarding his change of lifestyle. The reporter asked why he chose to make this person the beneficiary of his actions and intellect, instead of the rest of the world.
Nouwen appeared surprised at the question, then said, “You are mistaken. Adam is not the beneficiary of this relationship. If anything, I am the one who is gaining more from this relationship than he is. Not him. Me.”