You have seen me vulnerable from time to time, and believe me – it is never my first choice to lean into that state of being… I mean, really? Who does? Vulnerability can take you by surprise, though! And when it does, for me anyway, a couple of things happen –
I get a visceral reaction – my mouth gets dry, my heart starts beating, I may or may not be fighting back tears, fight or flight mode kicks in and here’s the crazy thing… This feeling of vulnerability doesn’t always stem from ugly encounters, offensive behavior or being threatened… I just had an epiphany! I have experienced these same exact reactions when great and wonderful things happen too!
For instance – just this moment, even as I was writing that last sentence, I received a call from my husband’s work number – Well, of course all kinds of thoughts flash through my head in the split second it takes to register who is calling and the sideways thumb slide you have to do on your smart phones nowadays; you see, a call from my husband at work is a VERY infrequent occurrence – and given the nature of his job, it could very well be bad news, though there have only been a very small percentage of the very few calls that I have received which have been bad news… Still and yet –
But I digress – After that initial minor visceral reaction, and finding that my husband is in fact, just fine he congratulated me… “What for, Honey?” I asked – “Well, for getting recognized by the CK Reporter for being the Best Local Volunteer!”. Immediate tears flood my eyes as my mouth goes completely dry – my heart is racing and I lose my words – which if you know me, is quite a fete! Even in that moment my bladder seems ready to burst… I guess that might have been too much information, but the same probably happens when I am scared out of my wits too – so… (more of that honest vulnerability).
Once I got a grip, if that’s what you call it, I could only thank my husband for taking the time out of his day to call me and be the first one to tell me that kind of amazing news… You see – just thinking of how proud he is of me sends me right back into that visceral reaction mode… my hands start shaking with joy. My heart beats faster with an intensity of growing love, like we had when we first met 15 years ago. It is crazy how God built us – but it works!
Maya Angelo once said, “People won’t remember you for what you said, they will remember you for how you made them feel”. Over the past couple of weeks, women whom I consider friends, (though mostly we are new in our friendship and had not really crossed the line into really intimate and personal conversation) have come to my office for a visits. I think God had something in mind when He brings people together, because in the midst of the short visits, we expressed some very different, but difficult situations we were dealing with – and in the midst of our telling – were experiencing that visceral, whole body feeling – as if the pain we were speaking of were occurring for the first time. And we comforted and encouraged each other; each in turn able to bless the other with godly advice directly related to our own past experiences, that obviously God had allowed just for these moments.
As these women left my office, I pondered Maya Angelo’s words; because of the way my friend had made me feel – And today I again understand the profoundness of that quote. I am so gratefully humbled by the news my husband gave me… These visceral reactions – well, they are pretty great! And for good or for bad, they serve a purpose, in God’s crazy composition of our lives.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1