February 14, 2020

On Misplaced Faith and Vulnerability

What I was greeted with in this low place was a safety net of humanity that helped restore a sense of meaning in my life that has long been missing.

On Misplaced Faith and Vulnerability

This week I experienced the power of vulnerability.

I needed help. I've needed help for a while. The struggle is real, and we can only go on so long pretending that we've got it under control before our constructed world view begins to disintegrate from all the little cracks it receives bumping up against Ultimate Truth. For me, it's taken 45 years.

So in a state of brokenness - physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual - I reached out, vulnerable and uncertain, and with great trepidation about how that need would be met. Knowing full well that the very existence of my vulnerability would be considered unkind by some, heretical by others.

My heart was full of fear, but the need was finally greater than fear.

And what I was greeted with in this low place was a safety net of humanity that has helped restore a sense of meaning in my life that has long been missing.

I have friends. I have community. And these fully-formed, mature and alive humans don't just care about me because I agree with them, or because I am part of some identity-based tribe. My People are a diverse group of thinking, feeling, courageous seekers who are willing to look Reality unflinchingly in the face *with* me.

I know that now, and my heart is saturated with gratitude.

I've been laboring in this lonely wasteland for a long time, trying to figure things out myself, feeling like there was something wrong with me because the stuff that seemed to be working for everyone else kept failing me. I felt guilty. I felt ashamed.
And this world is often harsh and punishing. We walk around wearing the armor of dogma and sanctimony to protect us from The Not Knowing. Because what is more terrifying than The Not Knowing? We'll kill, we'll die before we admit that We Don't Know. Many would prefer to live an entire lifetime in a state of delusion than spend a single moment with Reality.

I wish I could say it was courage that prompted me to ask for help, but it was desperation. It was vulnerability.

And when I put it out there, raw and ugly and sad - I was met by the best of humanity. The kindest. The wisest. The most humble. The gentlest. I was met with deep empathy and invitations to lunch. With texts, emails and private messages. With spontaneous visits and hugs.

I had underestimated humanity. I won't do it again.

Yesterday as I drove in to work, I noticed that the world looked different. Colors were brighter. Songs were sweeter. The coffee was fragrant and my body was relaxed and open. I left the window down even though it was a chilly morning, and felt the wind bite my skin. Everything and everyone felt important. It all had value. And I realized that perhaps, for most of my life, I had been putting my faith in the wrong things.

Albert Einstein - one of my personal heroes - once said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

And I now know which way I want to live.