I have been thinking quite a bit about the skinned knees of God who is yoked to us and falls with us in our attempts in life. Over the weekend I picked up Brene Brown’s latest book again and found myself more able to focus. Rising Strong carries on with the image from Daring Greatly of being in the arena and risking. In this book, she explores the concept that daring greatly in the public arena guarantees that you will fall from time to time. Getting up with grace and strength is the lesson.
This book has my attention already in the first few chapters. Brown’s thinking resonates as truth to me. The idea of living more vulnerably has been a goal of mine over the years. This blog, my mass letters to dear ones, and my deep conversations about life matters all point beyond the surface to authentic relationships that express my heart and soul. For years I have wandered into the arena, knowing full well that to be engaged in life leaves me vulnerable and an open target for criticism. I bravely go back in even still bleeding and aching some days but as Brown suggests, once you have committed to being brave, even falling will not completely stop you from going back into the den. One line struck me as truth in that in between time of falling and rising: We sometimes find ourselves homesick for a place that no longer exists. We want to go back to that moment before we walked into the arena but there’s nowhere to go back to. We are homesick and want to be safe. Oh, how I understood that! You cannot go backwards though.
Not everyone makes that choice to keep walking back into the arena, I am sure, but I suspect that if you stay in no man’s land, you are consistently unhappy in your life. Vulnerability is rarely embraced but worth it. Like a beautiful blood moon rising, we see the Mystery that lies behind it in good news stories, in Ted Talks, and in every day life. It is rare but if our eyes are open, we will catch a glimpse of it. We may even be the source of such a beautiful event. Falling and crawling away in shame is easy. Falling, rising and going again takes tremendous courage.
Last week was a crappy week for me but this week I am back at it. I cannot predict what the next three treatments will do to me physically and mentally but I can curl up with God as we rub our skinned knees and maybe even share a giggle or two as we laugh about our sorry state until I find the strength to rise again with God’s help. Once I am on my feet again, I will carry on, because going backwards is something I gave up years ago.
Currently in the news, a story of a Syrian refugee’s courage and determination will take our breath away. I read one story recently about the goodness of a stranger who welcomed a refugee with such compassion that I could not help but cry. The vulnerability and courage of both the giver and the receiver is what our world needs right now. Herein lies a secret that the world needs to try. God-With-Skinned-Knees shows us the way. Will we walk in it?
When do you find that you do not like to be vulnerable?
Has there been a time when you have fallen and gotten back up to try again?
God who came as a Baby,
God who walked amongst us,
God who loved and lost,
God who was almost cast off a cliff,
God who preached a message no one wanted to hear,
God whose own disciples did not get it,
God beaten, spat on and mocked,
God on the Cross,
God in the Tomb,
God on the Road,
God of Second Chances,
God of my heart,
thank you for showing me
what it means to be vulnerable.