No really, I did. This last week, I lost my purse (well actually I left my purse) 200 miles away in a coffee shop, in another state, while traveling…
And you want to know the unfortunate part? I didn’t realize it was missing until 24 hours later.
Inside my purse were
- credit cards
- business cards
- house keys
- my driver’s license
My life was in the control of another’s choice. Hello, utter and total vulnerability! Nice to meet you.
How often does vulnerability invite us to pause? Why would we allow this emotion to rise up? I mean really, who on earth wants to admit they are vulnerable?!
Ironically, this month I said I would explore being interrupted. I decided this would look like me seeking to intentionally pause and sit in things that happen that I do not expect, things that interrupt my life. But I’d made this deal with myself, long before I lost… I mean left… my purse in Iowa.
For the twenty-four hours after my purse was gone, I did something crazy. Instead of rushing to “fix and silence my vulnerability,” (i.e. jumping to the conclusion that whoever found my purse had bought themselves and all their closet friends and enemies around-the-world plane tickets) I instead did my best to let the weight of the unknown reside within me. And that was it.
I acknowledged my fear, had to trust people in another state and ultimately, hold the fear of someone having serious access to serious intimate details of my life. See? Crazy.
What did those twenty-four hours look like? A bit like this:
- Repeatedly resisting calling myself names like – “stupid”, “incompetent” and “lame”.
- Scrounging around the house for enough change to attend a meeting at a coffee shop, only to purchase the absolute cheapest thing on the menu – $1.76 lots of dimes and pennies, let me tell you!
- Driving under the speed limit since I had no license – ask my husband, slower is a rare thing for me.
- Leaving an appointment and having to ask if I could pay later – talk about my vulnerability being exposed.
What does this have to do with Christmas and being interrupted? Think of the sweet babe in Scripture – Jesus. Hundreds of carols, poems, and books have been written about his life and how he entered this world to save it. What if the very first gift we were given from Jesus was a lesson about vulnerability?
As a babe first, Jesus was hungry, dependent and cared for long before he ever cared for another or performed a single miracle. He was not living the middle or end of his story, instead in the earliest moments of his story he was the one being cared for. His first breath was into what I imagine as a dung-filled stable, yet we are told he was laid there in a manager..
It’s unsettling to not know the outcome of something, yet God allowed the mother and earthly father of Jesus to experience the vulnerability of bringing forth life in the most unlikely of all places, a stable.
How often does the interruption of vulnerability have something to teach us? Does our need to know the ending dictate our capacity to carry life, in the interruption?
You want to know the craziest, crazy part? My purse was shipped to my house, only a couple of days later, with the entire contents completely undisturbed.
This interruption of vulnerability has reminded me
- honest people do exist…
- when I ask for help people respond…
- vulnerability is risky, uncomfortable and so very vital…
Could Jesus’ vulnerability as a babe be more than a holiday with presents and trees, might God be reminding us that vulnerability is part of this process called life?