Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you….[I]t’s our greatest measure of courage….What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.
When we are vulnerable, what we appear to be matches up with who we truly are.
“It’s so hard to be vulnerable, to say to our neighbor, “I don’t know everything” or to say to our soul, “I don’t know anything at all.” Yet Jesus says the only people who can recognize and be ready for what he’s talking about are the ones who come with the mind and heart of a child (see Matthew 18:3). The older we get, the more we’ve been disappointed and betrayed by life and others, the more barriers we put up to what Zen masters call “beginner’s mind.” We must never presume that we see “all” or accurately. We must always be ready to see anew.”
July 2, 2021
I googled “examples of people who make themselves vulnerable.” These were some of the headlines that appeared:
a) Vulnerability: The Key to Close Relationships
b) Why Vulnerability Can Be So Attractive
c) Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength
d) Vulnerability Can Make You More Successful
The opposite of making yourself vulnerable?
- Always trying to look or be “cool.”
- Fearing and refusing to admit to faults and failures
- Building walls around yourself and hiding behind them
- Constantly pretending, faking it, being “false,” putting on a “show.”
- Refusing to be known for who you really are…at the cost of true friends.
To be vulnerable is to be free! Free from being consumed with what other people think or might think about you. Free from pretending, free from wearing a “mask.” The virtuous, vulnerable person brings out the vulnerability in others… in a natural way. When I am around a truly vulnerable person, it makes me feel safe to be vulnerable myself…and out of this, deep friendship is born. You can’t “force” vulnerability. True vulnerability, like the other virtues when they are “true,” are unforced. They flow out of a heart of love. They are fruit…of the Spirit of God.
CAC faculty member and dear friend James Finley recounts an experience from his doctoral training, during which he served as an intern on an inpatient alcohol treatment unit for veterans. Upon witnessing a new arrival at the unit accept the challenging truth of his addicted situation, Jim saw in the vulnerable alcoholic an insight about God’s presence, protection, and peace.
“In the moment he stood there with tears in his eyes, he was vulnerable and, in his vulnerability, true invincibility was being manifested in the world. Thomas Merton (1915–1968) taught there is that in us that is not subject to the brutalities of our own will. No matter how badly we may have trashed ourselves in patterns of self-destructive behavior, this innermost hidden center of ourselves remains invincibly whole and undiminished because it is that in us that belongs entirely to God.”
“No matter what anyone has done to us in the past, or is doing to us now, or might do to us in the future, this innermost, hidden center of ourselves remains invincibly established in God as a mysterious Presence, as a life that is at once God’s and our own. It is in being awakened to this innermost center of ourselves with God that we find the courage to continue on in the challenging process of healing, grounded in a peace that is not dependent on the outcome of our efforts because it is the peace of God, which depends on nothing and on which everything depends.”
Proverbs 25:2 (my paraphrase)
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; it is the glorious person who uncovers that matter.”