Adam could not speak, or even move without assistance. Gripped by frequent seizures, he spent his life in obscurity. In the eyes of the world he was a complete nobody. And yet, for Henri Nouwen he became "my friend, my teacher, and my guide". It was Adam who led Nouwen to a new understanding of his Christian faith and what it means to be Beloved of God.
Following the structure of the Gospels, Nouwen describes Adam's "hidden life" in the desert of institutionalized care, the "public life" that came when his family entrusted him to the L'Arche Daybreak community, his ministry, his miracles, and finally his passion, death, and "resurrection".
In a moving personal memoir, Nouwen recounts his own first awkward encounters with Adam when, upon his arrival at Daybreak, he was placed in charge of the young man's morning care. Gradually, under Adam's "instruction", Nouwen learned to adjust to a new, slower rhythm of life, to become more aware of his own body, and to speak with the language of the heart. During a time of emotional breakdown, Nouwen became the one who was cared for, as Adam played a role in his healing, leading him to understand the true meaning of spiritual poverty, and the mysterious grace of God's love.