I have more compassion than if I had never been wounded or if I had never been betrayed or I had never been harmed… those disappointments have made me gentler with other people and their disappointments, the stuff that they have to carry around and endure.
Springtime is on the horizon even as the cool weather and heavy rains of the winter make it seem otherwise. We should be grateful for this much needed rainfall and mindful that all of this is preparing Mother Earth to bloom again. This is also our stewardship season, a time when we recommit to supporting the rebuilding and rebirthing of our beloved community in the wake of the global pandemic and a few very difficult years. Each springtime, we plant seeds with the offerings of our time, talents, and financial resources that we hope will help our religious home to flourish and blossom in new ways.
I invite you to reflect more deeply about how our congregation cultivated a space of beauty, compassion, hope, love, prophetic witness, and beloved community while we weathered the bleakness of the pandemic together. We are still emerging from the challenges brought by significant income losses and it is going to take a sustained commitment from all of us over the next few years to recover and emerge resilient and strong. I hope you will consider how you might help the community emerge into an even greater abundance this spring.
Our Soul Matters theme for contemplation this month is The Path of Vulnerability. One definition of vulnerability is “willingness to show emotion or to allow one’s weaknesses to be seen or known.” Many of us learned from our families of origin, schooling, and culture that vulnerability was best avoided and that we should suppress our emotions and especially our woundedness. This keeps many of us from embracing our wholeness–everything that makes us who we are–and the wholeness of others. The theologian C.S. Lewis writes, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to keep it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” If our hearts are to remain fresh and spiritually alive, we must practice vulnerability as the means by which we remain open to all of the gifts and blessings of life.
We are invited to reflect upon some of the following questions in our small group ministries and committee check-in times this month:
- Was vulnerability celebrated, encouraged, modeled, shamed, or punished in your family of origin?
- What did your family of origin teach you about asking for help? Does that teaching still shape you today?
- Has vulnerability gotten easier or harder as you’ve grown older?
- What was your greatest “leap of faith”?
- What is your favorite failure? i.e., which of your failures ended up leading you to a gift?
- Has a past betrayal ever left you more protective than you need to be?
- What scares you?
- What’s your take on the often-shared quote, “Hurt people hurt people”?
- How would your life be different if you had trusted in vulnerability earlier in life?
If you have joys, sorrows, or milestones to share with the life of the community on a Sunday morning please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also request confidential spiritual support from our Pastoral Care Team at the same address. We look forward to hearing from you!
Yours in ministry and love,
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae