Grace and peace to you …
The Bible begins with humanity settled in the Garden of Eden, all their needs sorted and nothing to hide behind — they were naked. Physical nakedness marked an innocence that was lost when Adam and Eve took that first tempting bite. Their work to cover their nakedness alerted God that they had chosen their own way, rather than walking in the way that was marked out for them. They worked quickly to hide the decision they had made, but they were not created to hide. Humanity was made to be found — to be swept up in a love that promises to never leave or forsake us.
The vulnerability experienced in the Garden of Eden is something that we as human beings struggle to return to. Brené Brown released a Ted Talk years ago on the power of vulnerability. She shared that fear and shame keeps us from being vulnerable. Vulnerability, she shared, is the birthplace of many emotions. We are able to experience grief, shame, and disappointment as we lean into vulnerability. Yet, too often we work to numb those emotions and she shared that in seeking to numb grief, shame, and disappointment we then numb the other emotions that are also born out of vulnerability — joy, gratitude, and happiness.
To be vulnerable is to be comfortable with the naked truth of life. The church has so much to learn from the Recovery Community in learning how to be vulnerable. People who struggle with addiction and live within the 12 Step Programs that the recovery community offers have a way of living with an authenticity rarely seen in the world around us. Part of the work they do is to name right away that they have a problem and that they are not going to be able to manage this problem on their own. They are charged with giving an honest assessment of their lives to understand how the patterns of addiction in their lives have harmed themselves and others. One can understand how this work reveals the naked truth of life.
One of the members of the recovery community that meets at Central Methodist Mission, Fiona McCosh, has wrestled with the negative perceptions people have of those in the Recovery Community. Fiona has worked to document the naked beauty of several of the members of the Recovery Community here in Cape Town in order that the beauty of who they are might be revealed. I hope that we as a community will work to support her work at her exhibit, which opens Tuesday, September 29, 6 p.m. at the Issi Café, 130 Bree Street.
Question for reflection: In what ways am I hiding in my life? How might I embrace the vulnerability that will give birth to a more authentic life?
With you on the journey, Michelle.