I have run head on *smack bang* into the word vulnerability in many situations over the past few weeks. It really does play a lead role in many of our human encounters, *face plants*, life choices and relationships.
We have been studying Human Development and Integrity in Mission over the past month at Kairos. In reflection I can see that my fuel for the design work I used to do was the user experience; my design focus was always firstly "Why?"; Why should I buy?, Why should I sell? etc.
I have recently learned that "Why?" also relates to human growth and psychology. The deepening question of Why?… Why?… Why?… can be used to unwrap an initial emotional response and allow you to uncover a deeper human design behind the original "Why?".
For example; Why am I angry? (because I'm frustrated), Why am I frustrated? (because things are not going my way), Why do things have to go my way? (is my way really the only way? perhaps I need to see with the eyes of another)...
To ask the question "Why?" of yourself or of something else needs first and foremost vulnerability. To break open. To see with the eyes of another. In this reflection I have cracked open the power of vulnerability and how it can affect us all in various ways….
Friendship cannot be forced, there first must be an openness to be friends. Think back to your first childhood friend. Picture their face and name them… Do you remember opening up and sharing a secret?
Opening up and sharing something sacred is a vulnerable moment. It’s a leap of faith. Faith in self and in the other through the motivation of compassionate trust.
This gift of friendship intimacy is only created if both parties are vulnerable....
“When power meets power there is conflict.
When power meets vulnerability there is alienation.
When vulnerability meets vulnerability there emerges the communion of intimacy.”
~ Patrick O’sullivan SJ
As you open up and share you are vulnerable; if your friend in turn is vulnerable and opens to you then you are granted an epic gift known as intimacy - congratulations!
Throughout history there are many periods where the classic power tug of war was caused by people or communities, and this does certainly apply to work, sport, family or religious communities when people refuse to make way or make room for the other.
When vulnerable people and communities meet aggression and power this causes alienation. For example; the Maori people in New Zealand or the Aboriginal peoples in Australia or Canada are examples of vulnerability meeting aggression and this equaling alienation.
We can also think of examples when vulnerability has blossomed in the human heart and has met the vulnerability of another, leading to growth of a beautiful fragrant flower called intimacy. For example; when the government opened up, became vulnerable and said "Sorry" to the Aboriginal peoples; this was met with love, gratitude and the door was opened for a new intimate relationship to began to grow.
For people who are perfectionists deep self intimacy is something that can be hard to come by. If one is always striving to do things perfectly then disappointment can be a backpack that you never get to remove, it’s a heavy weight!
If we are vulnerable with ourselves and recognise that we are in fact not God, that it is indeed OK to fail, that trying is better than not doing anything at all; then we can become open and vulnerable to change and growth.
“God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful.”
~ Mother Teresa
Forgiving and showing mercy to self and others gives a *high five* to the mystery of all creation and shows admiration to our creator. By growing through vulnerability we water the flower of authentic intimate self image. Like a plant the deep relationship with self needs constant water and gentle care. Unconditional gentle self love is paramount to healthy body, mind and spirit.
GOD // YHWH // The Light // Abba // Elohim // Yahweh
It occurred to me recently light a light bulb moment that God is always vulnerable with us…. *Click!*
It's only that I often turn away from God. I am the one that creates alienation with God.
If we plan out how we think things will go, and are not vulnerable or open to change we alienate ourselves from God. After the *Click!* moment I found myself thinking “Jeepers, God must feel so rejected by me…. by us”. And yet, our unconditionally loving God still embraces us. Like the parable of the prodigal son, we are always welcomed home, we will never be lost.
We have free will, are always loved. We have the free choice to choose alienation or embrace vulnerability that will lead us to new ineffable intimacy with our creator God.
“The only way into intimacy is through vulnerability.”
~ Patrick O’sullivan SJ