This is Henri Nouwen’s ‘secret journal’. It was written during the most difficult period of his life, when, following the breakdown of a close relationship, he suddenly lost his self-esteem, his energy to live and work, his sense of being loved, even his hope in God. Although he experienced excruciating anguish and despair, he was still able to keep a journal in which he wrote each day a spiritual imperative to himself, which emerged from his conversations with friends. For more than eight years, Henri Nouwen felt that what he wrote was too raw and private to share with others. Instead he published The Return of the Prodigal Son, in which he expressed some of the insights gained during his mental and spiritual crisis. But then friends asked him, ‘Why keep your anguish hidden from the many people who have been nurtured by your writing? Wouldn’t it be of consolation for many to know about the fierce inner battle that lies underneath many of your spiritual heights?’ For the countless men and women who have to live through the pain of broken relationships, or who suffer from the loss of a loved one, this book offers new courage, new hope, even new life.