Vulnerability: the painting

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
― Mary Oliver
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. Probably a combination of roadtrips (Zion, Bryce Canyon, New Mexico!!) and several contiguous rainy days lately (WTH Denver!).

I feel an odd peace about life. I say odd because I also feel pain and hurt and sadness from people around me, yet also in that space resides a simultaneous joy. Joy that friends and family and strangers can be the people who they want to be. That they can express emotion, whether sad or happy, fearful or safe, enraged or soothed, and know that it’s ok to feel those things. That they’ve grown and stretched and put themselves out into the arena (thanks, Brene!). I’ve done the same and have the stretch marks and scars to prove it.

A friend tells her best friend that she loves him. And he returns that love. Another friend tells her boyfriend she wants to leave. And he disagrees. A mother tells her daughter they need to talk more. But the daughter says no, I want my space.

People throw their hearts into the furnace of vulnerability and one of two things result: they get what they want, or they don’t.

Here’s the thing: you do end up getting what you want when you’re vulnerable because you express what’s going on inside your soul. That’s how it’s supposed to happen. And if you don’t get what you wanted, then you are steered in a different direction and take a new path, which leads to new life too.

I have a strong sense of connectedness (thank you, StrengthsFinder) that whatever results happen, they happen for a reason. I can feel it, it pulses through every heart beat, every atrium and ventricle biological miraculous explosion through my body (yet somehow I don’t die through those explosions!).

Vulnerability is hard. It’s devastating, actually. It’s also beautiful. It’s part of the ebb and flow of life, living and dying, sunrises and moon rises, seasons starting and ending. That’s all part of the life rhythm of it. And it’s stunning. And makes me fall at my knees in awe.

I also find free will to be a terrible and great beauty. Beautiful because of choice. Because she chose. He chose. They chose. We all CHOOSE. We choose living and dying and what’s best for our souls and what’s terrible for our souls.

This season could be hard; there will be lots of dying and maybe more hard days than easy days. As in nature, you must have death in order to have life.

We are invited to live in this vulnerabilty, to be a participant AND subject of the whole painting of our own lives and the lives of others. There is contrast between light and dark, high points of light and low. Color and lack of color. It tells a story; good and bad, joy and sorrow. When I stand back and look at the entirety of the painting, it makes sense and strikes me with awe. Like a thunderbolt to the heart; it’s electrifying.

I personally believe that God, as the painter and creator of this painting, puts the colors on the canvas. God has us in the palm of his hand. Hee is there to comfort me and let me take refuge in the shadow of his wings. Refuge. REFUGE.

Soak that word in. Don’t forget that nothing is new under the sun. He is with us. And He is painting new life and dying off the old life everyday. If only we are to be vulnerable and let him lead us into our life’s painting.




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