This morning I read the following in Celtic Daily Prayer:
It is because of the refusal to be vulnerable that, far too often, instead of enjoying friendship and intimacy with those around us, we find ourselves fencing with each other, using our talents, achievements, and strengths as weapons. To be vulnerable in the true sense does not mean that someone must become a doormat, a weakling, devoid of all pride, going out of his way to let others know all of his faults and weaknesses. Nor is vulnerability to be confused with the idea of 'letting-it-all-hang-out', or any other form of psychological strip-tease. To be vulnerable is to be strong enough to be able to present ourselves without false props, without an artificial display of our credentials. In brief, to be vulnerable is to be strong enough to be honest and tender. Like Jesus, the person who is vulnerable is a person who cares enough to let himself be weak, precisely because he does care.This was refreshing for me to read and reflect upon.
~ Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart
In the past, I am sad to say, my vulnerability was tied to my insecurity and desire to be liked. I thought perhaps if I was transparent enough people would be impressed by my vulnerability and therefore respect me as a very spiritual person. I wore my vulnerability like a badge of honor for others to see -- in a weirldy ironic (and oxymoronic?) borrowing from Rolheiser's imagery, it was as if I used my ability to be transparent as a weapon for fencing.
In Rolheiser's comment I see a new and better way. Since the time of my previous post mentioned above, I like to think I have begun to emulate this; that I care enough about the person with whom I am sharing that I will actually share the real me. But not in an attempt to prove anything or win any awards. It is not about me being liked by them: it is not about me. It is about the other person being cared about enough by me that I am able to, for their sake, not hide myself.
Great post. Great thoughts. Sometimes we humans do the right things for the wrong reasons, or the wrong things for the right reasons, or... you get the picture. I guess the best way is to do the right thing for the right reason.
Anyway, I appreciate your vulnerability about this issue of being vulnerable! I like the idea of fencing - very cool to play out that metaphor!
Well stated, Keith. I like your thoughts and your vulnerability to be honest with yourself and others. I think God is pleased when we offer ourselves in this way, without pretense and with authenticity. Thank you!
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