The messiness of vulnerability


Dear diary- guess what? Vulnerability is very messy. Probably why many people avoid it most of the time. It takes an awful lot of trust to open one’s heart to another. Once the door is opened, and the light shines into darkened forgotten corners, the pain of judgement that comes from the onlookers can be enough to drive one over the edge. Fear is a terrible lord. The psalmist claims that ‘the Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?’. I wish that I could make the fear go away. ‘Those who trust in the Lord are like mount Zion, which shall never be removed, but shall remain forever..’ Which comes first? O that courage came in a can- but it is never that easy. Pain is a silent and invisible companion that journeys for an indeterminant season. Like the trickle of a constant stream, it carves an ever deepening channel into my soul. Perhaps one day I will make peace with its messengers, welcoming them as one welcomes a childhood friend. But that time is not now, for I have learned that it is not safe to be transparent- except before God and perhaps a trinity of friends. Paul talks about “knowing as we are known, but does it follow that such revelation guarantees acceptance? To know another’s thoughts and feelings does not imply that one will like the same. If those thoughts and feelings are trivialized and made to be of no account- if they are judged as unworthy because they are ‘incorrect’, then it really doesn’t matter how much, or how little is revealed. The focus becomes “how do I re-invent my story” in order to avoid rejection. How can my world view change so that I don’t offend the other? “This above all else, to thine own self be true- and then thou canst not be false to any man.” [Shakespeare; ‘Hamlet’] It takes a courage that I do not have to be true to my own convictions. The world is too lonely a place to try and swim solo. There has to be connection- a sharing of the burden of this living.

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