This isn’t really a story, but more about the beginnings of one. Call it a diary entry – or a pledge – or a reminder to not be afraid. The words may be for no one but me. Or they may be for you too.
“Something in you has changed. It’s in your countenance. You seem – vulnerable.”
What an unlikely word for a girl like me – a girl who wears strength like a necklace. While I say I’m an open book, I determine how the pages may be read, editing each chapter with precision so I am protected.
Vulnerable is weak. It is needy. It is exposed, open to attack and pain. Why would anyone look me in the eye and call me vulnerable?
Because it’s true.
Something has changed. I can’t place the moment when the links of the necklace chain stretched. Maybe it was in Jamaica as I stood dry-mouthed and trembling in front of a room of women who came to hear “the sister come to preach the word of the Lord.” Or maybe it was in Russia as I walked away from the pleading eyes of Dacia as she followed me, her stocking feet standing in snow, a teenage orphan twice rejected and returned to live in the large box of a building in an unfamiliar place. Or maybe the breaking came in the destitute poverty of Guatemala as Emilia reached out with her gnarled and withered hands and prayed peace over a woman she couldn’t see but could sense was more needy than she was.
Or it may have simply been waiting for me in the pre-dawn stillness as sleep drifted away and the mourning doves called out for hope. The chain broke on the well-edited life. I realized there were still far more questions than answers and far more weakness than strength. The desire to write the script was replaced by a greater desire to see the poetry emerge in the brightest and darkest of moments. My heart became naked. And vulnerability was written into the vocabulary.
Things are translucent now– the pages of my story becoming vellum. Light shines through the words, and edits fade to reveal questions in the margins, smudges in the lines, new colors emerging in the painting of the words.
Once-hidden text finds its way into the chapters. Stories spoken long to become stories written. Stories about shattered things, broken things, painful things. Stories about love as the only true answer and grace as the only real gift. Stories about a vulnerability that isn’t weak, but simply open. Every story a reminder that I am indeed weak, indeed exposed, indeed needy. And indeed redeemed, rescued, restored, repaired through the kindness of the Lord God Alminghty and those He has entrusted to walk along the path of my life. That vulnerability is divine and messy and hard and beautiful.
It begins its journey with purposeful determination. It is bold, holding its sword high as it presses on with resolve. It ends its journey in cheerful submission. It is gentle, humbly bowing in grateful repose. ~Willing. A Word for 2013
Here’s to the poetry. Here’s to the stories. Here’s to the resolve that moves to grateful repose. Here’s to being vulnerable – to being open.
And yes, I’m now feeling more vulnerable than ever.
Are you like me at all? Is yours a well-edited story that needs to be yielded, to become poetry rather than a script?