I’ve begun work on a story that I think should be told. This project requires that I dig deeply into my mind. I search for memories, sights, smells and experiences that I can use as structural support for the story and its characters. As I reflect and remember, I realize that there is one thing that I’m really pretty good at. It’s not my job. It’s not playing guitar. It’s not writing. Although, I am pretty good at all of those. No, what I’m best at is something much darker. I am really good at breaking relationships. From my earliest memories I find I have a knack for hurting people. I don’t know why. Perhaps, I’m self-destructive and can’t allow anyone to get too close. I have a constructed a safe zone that no one is allowed to enter. When someone tries to get a bit too familiar, Bam! Explosions and gunfire erupt.
At one time in my life I would put myself out there. I shared my deepest thoughts and feelings with people. Maybe, this was to encourage them to do likewise. Usually, they didn’t and I felt naked and ashamed. Over the years I learned to cope and hold back. If I don’t place my life on the altar of Relationship, then no one can take a knife and cut out my heart.
I envied the Mr. Spock character on Star Trek. Emotionless. I could not be hurt if that emotion was eliminated. But, I’m not Vulcan. Crap! Green blood sounds so cool!
I found that the only safe place to be was in solitude. There, I don’t have to deal with and interact with other people. I don’t have to live up to whatever expectations they have for me. I don’t have to be anxious about not meeting those expectations. But, in a social construct like a community or a family there is always going to be stress and tension. Especially, for someone like me. Yeah, there are times when I like being with others. But, on my terms. I know, this is really a selfish way to live. I should have to wear a sign, “Alert! Narcissist Walking!” At the end of the day, I’m left feeling ashamed and guilty.
In this place, this ‘life’ I’ve built, there is a glimmer of hope. You see, even when I’m alone, I’m not really alone. There is One who knows me intimately. One who is always present. One who sees me at my worst. This One, let’s call him Jesus, understands. He has experienced what I have. He knows failure and forsakenness. When he was murdered he was left naked and exposed. As he offered his final, tortured breath to God, he failed to have faith and felt the reality of being left alone. At that moment, God learned what it’s like to be human. This is a person that I can trust.
So, over time I’ve begun to allow myself to be a tad more open. I try to ‘pull back the veil’ that conceals who I am. It’s hard, to be sure. Vulnerability is dangerous. But, nothing that can happen to me compares with what Jesus experienced. And, nothing can separate me from his love.
Vulnerability…how do you look at it? Is it important? Why? Why Not?