There has been a lot of emphasis lately – both in the news and from the pulpit – about our call to resistance. It’s a call, of course, to not just see when our principles and basic human rights are threatened, but to do something about it.
But how do we see it? And how do we see our own complicity in systems of oppression that we didn’t ask to be a part of but find ourselves in because of our class, our gender, our skin color, our education?
This is a time for vulnerability.
You see, many times we put up our defenses when confronted with challenges to who we know we are and our view of the world. We think we’re being strong. But in reality, as poet David Whyte notes,
“Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding undercurrent of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature, the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to become something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, in refusing our vulnerability we refuse the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.”
We need to answer the call to resist and rejoice with vulnerability. We should be listening to each other with a mind that says “I’m uncomfortable even as I witness this other person’s truth” and a heart that says “being open means being strong.”
I hope in the coming weeks, months, and years, you can be vulnerable to and with each other, to and with others from different cultures, classes, genders, races. Vulnerability is not a weakness. It is the key to our strength.