Sunday, January 3, 2010

Vulnerable


Each day I receive a devotional from the Henri Nouwen Society that sets the tone for my day. I mull over the words and let them become familiar so that I have an underlying sense of tranquility as my day unfolds. What I didn’t expect was how today’s words set the tone for the New Year.

VULNERABLE, LIKE A BIRD
Life is precious. Not because it is unchangeable, like a diamond, but because it is vulnerable, like a little bird. To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support. Life and death are connected by vulnerability. The newborn child and the dying elder both remind us of the preciousness of our lives. Let's not forget the preciousness and vulnerability of life during the times we are powerful, successful, and popular.


I am notorious for creating a list of goals for the New Year that would bring me to unbelievable heights. Every year I challenge myself, physically and mentally, to accomplish something I’ve never done before. Where people my age spend most of their time looking back at what once was, I remain grateful in the present, and continue to grow…forward. It’s my secret to avoiding a mid-life crisis.

In 2004, I vowed I would learn to play a guitar so I did. I discovered I hated it. The year before that I enrolled in kickboxing and social dance classes. I loved kickboxing but lamented the lack of good dance partners in my dance class.

The first day of 2008 brought my beautiful granddaughter, Rylee Sage, and I quickly adapted to my grandma status at 39-years-old. Later that year, I experienced the death of many loved ones and I challenged myself to face the grim reaper head-on. I became aware of the fragility of life.

2009 was the most challenging as I was able to accomplish more than I thought possible. My dream of traveling to the Philippines with My Refuge House to help girls rescued from the sex trade came true. That trip, My Refuge House, and New Heart Church enhanced my life by bringing the most amazing people in it. They have become my family. I ran two half-marathons and a 10K. I declared that I would change jobs, sacrificing a pay increase for peace of mind, and I did. I vowed to be a better mother and despite the adversity my kids and I faced, our relationship does not lack cohesion. I took my passion for photography and made it burn. I allowed myself to love and receive it in return.

As 2009 skidded to an end I began patting myself on the back for successfully completing almost all my resolutions. My hubris was premature as October had the audacity to deliver the year’s most difficult challenges. Life becomes irritating when it propels forward beyond MY control. I used to take pride in expecting the unexpected and maneuvering through the obstacles but I was highly unprepared for the onslaught of uncertainties. My inherent controlling nature usually has me completing my New Year’s goals by the end of November. For the first time, I was too drained to pick up a pen and think about my future.

So I find myself on January 3, 2010 sans goals and list of resolutions. I feel completely disoriented and vulnerable, like I was dropped onto another planet without a map or compass to guide me. It's okay; for I know that adventures are born through uncertainties and adversity. Relinquishing my control to the unknown has me shaking with fear but through my vulnerability I will continue to value life in its fragility and focus on the One who saved me.