Thursday, October 10, 2013

We can only look deep if we share with another human being our most vulnerable self

I received a birthday note last month from a friend who lives far away. On my birthday, another friend sent her daughter over with a lovely bouquet of wild flowers from her garden. They were such "a happening!" that it's made me realize how rare it is now to receive contact other than through texts, Facebook and emails. Receiving a letter from someone who thought of you and took the time to write to you or having an in-person delivery of flowers... those very acts have become unusual and celebratory.

Picking up the phone and talking for an hour or having face time with someone you love to be with is a gift. You are connecting with each other, you are actively listening, and if you are are able to be vulnerable with each other. Social media is different. It's fast, it's funny and yes... there are those touching videos.  There are commonalities, there are a lot of high fives, but vulnerability, eye contact...not so much.

One of the blessings of my being unemployed has been that I have made a conscious effort to connect with friends again. Whether taking a long walk, going to a museum exhibit, sitting over tea, or having dinner together- all of these underscore true connection and the intimacy of friendship. The connections are powerful and fill me up.

It's easy to show off our good side on social media -our funny side, our pretty side, the...HELLO WORLD! ...Here we ARE the PERFECT family at Disneyland!... Those glimpses are a very narrow view of our lives. It is what we choose to show the world. Because, revealing what could really be going on behind those facades can be something quite different. Maybe our marriage is falling apart, we are drinking too much, stuffing down feelings with food, terrified that we are damaging our children with our bad parenting, or feeling alone because no one invites our child over to play because they are deemed "too difficult." Or, if that check doesn't come in soon... we'll lose our house.

We dance as fast as we can in a world that moves faster than we do.  

We can only look deep if we share with another human being our most vulnerable self. It is more intimate, more courageous and can be... absolutely terrifying. Sometimes it is messy and ugly, and we live in fear that we will be rejected. But, there is great beauty in taking that risk and sharing of ourselves. When we share our fears and are vulnerable to another person, we are united - because we are all flawed, we are all fearful and we are all human. Our wounds run deep even if you can't see them. It is not until we sit down, looking into the eyes of another human being, and feel their arms around us, that we know we will get through the challenging times, and that we are not alone.

Photo Credit: "Between Darkness and Wonder" painting by artist Chuck Gumpert.

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  1. I was just saying to my husband last night that I feel that people are losing the ability to communicate with each other! I wish you and I could sit and talk face to face JCK!
    And, I hope none of those things you mentioned are happening in your life.

  2. I 100% agree. I like nothing more than to finally be face-to-face with an internet friend. I think Jen needs to come out to SoCal and visit her friends Jenn and Jennifer.


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