Day 27 – Can You Drink the Cup? – Henri Nouwen

Day 27

Can You Drink the Cup?

Henri Nouwen

We truly need each other to claim all of our lives and to live them to the fullest. We need each other to move beyond our guilt and shame and to become grateful, not just for our successes and accomplishments but also for our failures and shortcomings. We need to be able to let our tears flow freely, tears of sorrow as well as tears of joy, tears that are as rain on dry ground. As we thus lift our lives for each other, we can truly say: “To life,” because all we have lived now becomes the fertile soil for the future.

But lifting our cup to life is much more than saying good things about each other. It is much more than offering good wishes. It means that we take all we have ever lived and bring it to the present moment as a gift for others, a gift to celebrate.

Mostly we are willing to look back at our lives and say: “I am grateful for the good things that brought me to this place.” But when we lift our cup to life, we must dare to say: “I am grateful for all that has happened to me and led me to this moment.” This gratitude which embraces all of our past is what makes our life a true gift for others, because this gratitude erases bitterness, resentments, regret, and revenge as well as all jealousies and rivalries. It transforms our past into a fruitful gift for the future, and makes our life, all of it, into a life that gives life.

The enormous individualism of our society, in which so much emphasis is on “doing it yourself,” prevents us from lifting our lives for each other. But each time we dare to step beyond our fear, to be vulnerable and lift our cup, our own and other people’s lives will blossom in unexpected ways.

Then we too will find the strength to drink our cup and drink it to the bottom.

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