The Cup of Sorrow:
Nouwen says the cup of sorrow is also the cup of joy. How can this be?
In writing about the sorrows of Adam, Michael and the others at l’Arche Daybreak, his own personal sorrows, and those of the world around him, Nouwen paints what could be considered a somewhat bleak picture of the human condition. Our radical aloneness is also a radical interrelationship, for as Nouwen says, “For each of us our sorrows are deeply personal. For all of us our sorrows, too, are universal.”
The reality is that this bitterness is often too much for us to bear, and so we never get to the lifting and drinking. Even Jesus, he points out, tried to avoid it. However, because of, “a trust beyond betrayal, a surrender beyond despair, a love beyond all fears,” an, “intimacy beyond all human intimacies,” Jesus is able to drink the cup. What experience do you have of this intimate relationship to God? Or, how has it been elusive?
The Cup of Joy:
Nouwen continues his discussion of our interrelationship by describing the intimacy of his relationship with Adam. The level of trust exhibited by Adam for Henri Nouwen exemplifies how our relationship to God should be. Perhaps this is something of why Jesus says we need to be like children – they know what it is to rely on someone else. Is it that if we are able to trust, rely on, surrender to God that we will find joy? Perhaps our sorrows allow us to do just that.
Often we fear messy emotions. Nouwen’s description of Bill moving from laughter to tears and back again reminded me of my grandfather telling jokes in the funeral home at calling hours. Life is to be lived, even in the midst of death. If we have the courage to uncover the sorrow, the courage to face it, the courage to acknowledge its existence, the joy will be uncovered. The question is, how can we help one another to do this?