If spiritual formation is “the way of the heart,” then the image of a journey is an appropriate one. It is the image Nouwen employs, using the word “movements” to describe the early, midlife, and mature dimensions of that journey. He organizes the rest of his book in this way.
The idea of “movement” also conjures up a musical analogy. Every symphony has several movements. As one turns into the other, nothing is lost, but everything is enhanced. A careful listening to the new movement reveals that the earlier movements are still being played, but now along with new and developing nuances that take us into new experiences with the music itself.
Whether we think of a journey or a symphony, the concept of movements is a good one, reminding us that in spiritual formation, we leave nothing behind. Even on our final day on the earth we will be thinking, saying, and doing many of the things that we have done since “the hour we first believed.” But we will be doing them in new and enriched ways as the God who is “all in all” never lets us settle for a particular experience, but rather leads us on—until at last we are Home.