Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vulnerability and exposure

Every once in a while, in moments of weakness, I find myself uttering various kinds of deeply felt, deeply believed truth. In those rare moments I'm simply being honest about what I'm going through, and what I'm thinking and feeling. Often, if I'm lucky, my honesty is met with warmth, openness and gentleness. But, sometimes, those moments are met with a cold, blank stare or a blunt retort. 

This is something I've experienced throughout my life, but was reminded of today when something I said was met with the latter response. So, today, in being reminded of this, a startling truth was made evident to me, and it is this: that vulnerability feels like vulnerability only when it is not reciprocated. When two people are being vulnerable together it is the most liberating thing. But vulnerability without reciprocation is merely exposure. It's the exposure of everyone involved; of me and the other person. 

This makes me realise that we are all really like Adam in the garden of Eden, trying to hide our nakedness, trying not to get found out. But at the same time, we long to be known and understood. So here we are, vulnerable, yet exposed. We're hiding from God, but all the while He is calling out to us, asking us where we are. God longs for us to be vulnerable to Him, because He knows that when we are vulnerable to Him – when we own up to our flaws, our fears and our hopes – then, and only then, will we see that God longs to be vulnerable with us too. Only when we are vulnerable with God will we stop feeling so exposed.

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