"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9
I’m not sure this is a trait with all kids, but at least with mine, they let us KNOW when they are sick. And by let us know, I mean LET. US. KNOW. As in loud, guttural cries, “MY TUMMY HURTS!” followed by sobs, moans and pleas for help. It is painful to be home with them when they are that sick – to hear their distinct cries of agony and feel helpless to stop them – to wish the squeeze of my hand or warmth of my arms were enough to take the discomfort away. But it often doesn’t.
There are many things I admire about a child’s ability to be … well … childlike. I found myself this morning adding guttural screams to the list.
When something hurts, they tell us. They don’t hesitate, they don’t worry about being too loud or too pathetic, they don’t worry that their cries will fall on deaf ears, and they don’t even necessarily expect us to fix it. They just want to tell us they are hurt, in the real, honest raw moment that it hurts, and have us be there. While my hand squeezes and back rubs and snuggles may seem to me like inadequate remedies in their momentary suffering, it means everything to them. They hurt, but they are not alone.
I just started reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I’m not too far into it, but from what I’ve read, she considers vulnerability to be a very courageous, necessary thing to lead a wholehearted life. It is brave to acknowledge your feelings, to really feel your feelings, and to let others in without pride or shame.
Being vulnerable has somehow, somewhere along the way, translated to us adults as weakness. And who wants to show weakness in a world that teaches us to outdo, out-perform and portray our lives through all kinds of rosy filters? I get it. It's easier to use filters. Showing your weaknesses is freaking scary. But, I love and appreciate and admire how others can be truthful with me without caring about how it makes them look. And I can only imagine that people appreciate the times when I can muster the strength to be vulnerable with them, too.
It hurts to see my kids hurt. And in my adult lens I realize that it hurts those I love to see ME hurt. But I know that I am honored beyond belief that my kids want ME and trust ME when they are at their weakest. It’s a great privilege to be their “person” in those hard moments and I will cherish that role forever. They teach me that vulnerability is not only helpful and freeing to the vulnerable – it is an honoring, life-giving, supernatural, relationship-building gift to the person who gets to receive it.
Exposure is pretty dang humbling, complicated and scary - so there will always be an inclination to hold back – to not put it all out there. But, as I’ve learned from the tiniest, purest little souls, when you strip away all of your filters and bare your truest struggles in the most raw, authentic ways – the broken walls of isolation, the freedom, the going forth into the light, the absence of hiding – even the squeeze of a hand – makes it all worth it. You are naked, you are scared, you are real, and you probably look a lot more messy than you ever have - but still - you are so much better off than you were before. Because you are no longer alone.