Monday, January 27, 2014

The Vulnerability Mosaic

So, there is this vulnerability thing. I'm not the expert: Brene Brown is though. You should check out her Ted Talks here and here on vulnerability and shame. Then you'll be all inspired and intermittently feel the need to really open your life up to your loved ones and/or think she's crazy and should leave you alone. Sometimes (usually) you might have both of these thoughts in the very same instant. Also, check out Glenna Melton, she's newer to me, but I want to be her best friend a little I think.

You might also consider buying their books, but then abandon them on a random shelf at Barnes & Noble because books are expensive or possibly because you're irrationally and accurately a little afraid they can see into your soul if you read too many of their words. Never mind about that though... 

Anyway, the vulnerability thing keeps coming up in my life lately. I've been pushed to the edge (and BEYOND!) of my comfort zone in several ways on this front lately it seems. And I'm just so ridiculous. I'm a fan of vulnerability, in others. I respect it an outrageous amount. It's hard work to tell the hard, open truth about your weakness to the world. Still, I long to resist it. If ever I come through to it it's likely because I've already stumbled through the consequences of failing several times. I'm afraid in all this, that God might be whispering to me that vulnerability is my word for the year - or some variation of it. (I must, must commit this week to a word!)

Anyway, the vulnerability thing...

I have had to admit that I failed or was just flat out wrong about something a ridiculous amount of times lately. I've also had a couple gut wrenching, soul bearing conversations with people that mean the world to me. You know the type of conversations that leave you too tired to sleep for more than an hour at a time for days? You know the kind. The ones so heavy you want to forget them forever, but their words replay vividly in your head (even though you can't seem to remember anything else lately). The kind so heavy you can barely talk about them when really getting it out of your loud, self-critical head and into the prayer lives of your nearest and dearest is all you need. The kind so heavy that even when you dare to tell your closest, most trusted friends about them you're a bit cryptic because it's not just your story you hold. And, brilliantly, beautifully the pain of your own heartache reminds you to be extra careful to guard the other's heart. And then, in the heaviness of these conversations, you learn that admitting you are wrong or failed is a breeze compared to admitting your heart is wounded. Taking off the superhero cape defense mechanism that Glenna Melton talks about and admitting you failed seems like an absolute cakewalk. If only you can just keep the cape of apathy that protects you from admitting that someone might have had enough access to your heart to stumble about there and bust you into pieces. Without this cape, you're terrified and nearly certain that your busted heart shards may never be repaired, can never be returned to their original order.

And then a little time passes and you still ache, heavy every day in these things, but miraculously you can keep moving forward. You said the hard vulnerable things out loud and your busted heart did not stop. The broken shards poke you, but you can feel them changing in you. In fact, something alarming and beautiful has happened while you turned your eyes away because the aching was just too heavy to watch the broken heart shards every moment. (your denial cape guarding you briefly as you move forward in the rest of life.) You look back at the busted pieces and their order has changed somehow. The shifting makes complete sense as you feel absolutely shaken. It's puzzling though - there are pieces of you missing entirely now. And you notice amongst your broken chaos pieces of another's heart, all shiny and contrasting - different, but gleaming. You wonder if your missing pieces stuck in someone too.

You take a step back and notice the human design, awed at creation again, the broken heart pieces - mine and theirs - have mingled themselves into a beautiful mess of a mosaic. The pain you let yourself feel let in waves of grace and beauty so heavy that in an instant, the pain is excused - not erased - but accepted, because what are our other choices?

Can we notice the pain away by overthinking it into oblivion? Denying it? No. It's real. It must be felt. Acknowledged, but not fed. Grace and beauty are so much sweeter. Harder to feel, but warmer and dearer. So, you fight and practice and realize this mosaic is just like the eucharisteo fight but harder because it's finding beauty in what hurts you, not just beauty around you. And there is an undeniable ache in the work of finding blessing in your own pain.

It's in there though grace and beauty are the glinting, gleaming mosaic from the sharp shards of us falling all over one another in pain and weakness and truth. They are stunning and they are ever incomplete mosaics. Glowing a bit more beautiful with every break and repair and mingling of our bustedness.

What a holy, heartbreaking, heartmending glorious mess. 

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