Nouwen writes in reference to Matthew 20:22, ""Can we drink the cup?' is the most challenging and radical question we can ask ourselves. The cup is the cup of life, full of sorrows and joys. Can we hold our cups and claim them as our own?" He goes on to add, "We all must hold the cups of our lives. As we grow older and become more fully aware of the many sorrows of life-personal failures, family conflicts, disappointments in work and social life, and the many pains surrounding us...everything within and around us conspires to make us ignore, avoid, suppress, or simply deny these sorrows. But when we want to drink the cups of our lives, we need first to hold them, to fully acknowledge what we are living, trusting that by not avoiding but befriending our sorrows we will discover the true joy we are looking for right in the midst of our sorrows."
i'm trying to figure out if i can hold this cup called life. i just got back from my cruise - and while your portayal of me lounging poolside listening to a good ipod mix and reading a thought provoking book was almost 100% accurate, i didn't get the reading in that i had planned, just the listening and lounging. so, after my lounging days, i came back to my cup - to my life - and the first day back, it slipped through my hand, fell to the ground, cracked and broke into pieces. i thought i could hit the ground running - finish up a relaxing vacation and come back refreshed, ready to engage and do this thing...but by 3:30 monday afternoon i hit a wall of exhaustion - and that obstacle caused me to falter, to drop my cup and watch it crumble.
i thought to myself, what is so difficult about this cup that i am unable to carry it? no one is asking me to carry more than one cup. and this cup isn't even filled to the brim and overflowing. there was nothing more asked of me that first day back than any other day - laundry, groceries, cooking, cleaning... and yet, i could not carry it. i wanted someone else to come carry my cup, and let me take the night off. and when my life slipped and i watched it crumble - i wanted someone else to pick up the pieces and glue things back together for the next day when i'd be more able, more certain i could carry it once again. thankfully, my husband was there to pick up the pieces and join me in putting my cup-my life-back together.
but next time, i want to hold the cup. i don't want to ignore, avoid, suppress, or deny life's sorrows. i want to hold them, no matter how slippery the slope, or rocky the path, or bumpy life's highway...i want to hold on and hope... hope that i will discover the joy that i'm looking for in the middle of the slipperiness of life - not always waiting, wishing and holding my breath for the highway to clear and the winds to die down.