"A life story book is a collection of photographs, letters and stories put together as a sort of biography." Heather and my mom both like to scrapbook. They decoratively arrange pages with photos and stories of birthdays, holidays, weddings, vacations, bar mitzvahs, births, dedications, baptisms, and all sorts of family life events.
Very recently I was thumbing through the book my mom made about my Grandma, and I noticed that she had included a very serious illness and long hospital stay, far from home, that my Grandma had endured. It hadn't struck me how unusual this was until I read about Bill's life story book. This was a significant event in my family, and in my Grandma's life. In many ways it forced her, and all of us, to appreciate life more. But how often would be include such an event?
Nouwen says lifting our cup to life, "means we take all we have ever lived and bring it to the present moment as a gift for others, a gift to celebrate." It is to say, "I am grateful for all that has happened to me and led me to this moment." Are there events in your life which you might regret, or which have caused you pain, which in some way have led to joy, or hope, or peace, or some other good? Has gratitude been transformational?
Hae Jung Park was one of my best friends in seminary. We are about the same height, dressed similarly, and seemed so much alike that people would joke that we were twins, separated at birth (he's Korean). One of our favorite pastimes was to have "tea time." It wasn't about the tea (usually coffee), but rather a time to talk - about life, theology, baseball, Korea, the U.S., the church, the campus, the seminary, whatever.
Tea time was about taking time to be together. It was also about sharing our joys, frustrations, sorrows, doubts, and hopes. Hae Jung has gone back to Korea, but I know that I could see him ten years from now and we could have tea time, and pick up right where we left off. We shared a deep trust that will endure.
Nouwen says that, "Drinking our cup is a hopeful, courageous and self-confident way of living." This implies a willingness to put in the time, an ability to trust, and attitude of celebration for all that life is. Is it perhaps our unwillingness to make time that so often keeps us from being able to move into trust and celebration.