Day 20 – Can You Drink the Cup? – Henri Nouwen

Day 20

Can You Drink the Cup?

Chapter 5

Lifting the cup is offering a blessing. The cup of sorrow and joy, when lifted for others cc to life,” becomes the cup of blessings.

I have a very lively memory connected with the cup of sorrow and joy becoming the cup of blessings. A few years ago, one of the handicapped members of the Daybreak community had to spend a few months in a mental hospital near Toronto for psychological evaluation. His name is Trevor. Trevor and I had become close friends over the years. He loved me and I loved him. Whenever he saw me coming, he ran up to me with a great radiant smile. Often he went into the fields and collected wild flowers for me. He always wanted to assist me in the celebrations of the Eucharist and had a fine sense for ceremony and ritual.

During the time Trevor was away from Daybreak, I decided to go see him. I called the hospital chaplain and asked him if I could visit my friend. He said I was welcome to come and wondered if it would be all right if he invited some of the ministers and priests in the area and some members of the hospital staff to have lunch with me. Without thinking much about the implications of this request, I said immediately, “Sure, that will be fine.”

When I arrived at 11:00 A.M., a large group of clergy and hospital personnel was waiting for me, and they welcomed me warmly. I looked around for Trevor, but he wasn’t there. So I said: “I came here to visit Trevor. Can you tell me where I can find him?” The hospital chaplain said: “You can be with him after lunch.” I was stunned and said, “But didn’t you invite him for lunch?” “No, no,” he said, “that’s impossible. Staff and patients cannot have lunch together. Moreover, we have reserved the Golden Room for this occasion, and no patient has ever been allowed in that room. It is for staff only.” “Well,” I said, “I will only have lunch with you all when Trevor can be there too. Trevor and I are close friends. It is for him that I came, and I am sure he would love to join us for lunch.” I noticed some mixed reactions to my words, but after some whispering I was told that I could bring Trevor with me to the Golden Room.

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