The Cup of Salvation & To the Bottom
I recall seeing a news segment several years ago about a display of portraits that had been created to honor U.S. troops who have died while serving in Iraq. One woman who was on the show talking about it is the widow of a soldier. She is now raising their 5 children by herself. In speaking about how difficult it has been for the children to deal with the death of their father, she noted that one young son has said that he doesn't ever want to be a daddy, because daddies die.
Too often we try to deal with life by not living. We fear entering into loving and caring relationships because we may get hurt. We keep our distance, never really creating close bonds, in order to lessen the potential pain of loss. We hide in drugs, or alcohol, or food, or television, or whatever else, in order to avoid reality. But, the fact is, we can't really avoid the truth that life contains pain, and sorrow, and loss.
Jesus understood this, and even though he longed for something different, the cup, held it, and drank it, all the way to the bottom. However, in doing so, he showed us that pain, and sorrow, and loss are never the final word -- not when a life is lived in relationship to God. Daddies die, sometimes for the wrong reasons. But God is with us through it all.
Until we develop the ability to trust in that divine presence, we will go on hiding, and avoiding, and pretending that much of life isn't really there. That deep trust, that profound appreciation for the presence of God, is what the cup of salvation is about. That should be the goal of our journey, knowing and trusting deeply that the God who is the source of all life, all love, all joy, all hope, is with us always. That is what it is to drink from the cup of life to trust.
As Nouwen suggests, in order for us to be able to do this, we need to do more than wish for it. He suggests silence, word, and action as a model for moving toward this ability to trust. Listening in the silence, sharing our own lives in community, and making use of our divine gifts can help us to be aware of the presence of God in our lives, and in the lives of others. When we begin to trust in God, we will become able to trust in others, and when we become able to trust in others, we will trust even more so in God.
Conclusion & Epilogue
I will leave this to you.