One of our members (Zama Moyo) writes his own blog and we thought we'd share a recent entry of his on the topic of 'Vulnerability'. To read a bit more about Zama go HERE - a post from our 'Introducing' series in which we introduce members of our church family.
It’s a warm Colchester evening in the East of England. I’m hunched over my laptop screen, either watching or reading something. Unbeknownst to me, 9 000 Kilometres away (well, that’s what Google says) a friend of mine from home is typing a message I’ll read in the next few seconds.
*Ding Ding* goes my phone.
The text reads, and I paraphrase: Hai Hai Hai, Now I gotta say it. Bro I miss you
I must tell you that of all the blog posts I’ve written recently, this is easily the most difficult to get down. The reason is the topic of the post: vulnerability. It’s hard to write about because it’s one of those things we all know instinctively, but rarely ever give expression to or talk about. Our vulnerability is at once the thing that makes us human, but at the same time is the thing we spend so much of ourselves trying to cover and get away from.
Why talk about vulnerability? Well, some years ago I tweeted something about connection being the single biggest human need. If you go through my timeline, you’ll see a lot of nonsense- some silly one-liners, some sport commentary no one asked for, that sort of thing. THAT tweet, however, whether I realized it or not, is probably the most true and most important thing I’ve ever put into 140 characters or less.
The need for connection is what the priest and drug addict seek with equal intensity; one does it on his knees and the other through his nose. Connection is the electricity behind a really cool handshake, the energy between two people who just ‘click’, the soccer player that passes the ball to his teammate having barely lifted his head. It’s the chemistry between drummer and bass player. It’s the fabric of what poets and theologians call love, the fibre of what psychologists call attachment.
But here’s the thing: if connection is the house, vulnerability is the foundation. The people we go deepest with aren’t the ones we go furthest back with; they’re the ones we get dirtiest with. Think about it. I’m most secure in the love of those who love me despite the stuff about me I’m most ashamed of. When I met Rory, we had some things in common and so we could have casual chats about stuff. But the real difference between the shy white guy I happened to be in the same class with, and the brother I now get teary just thinking about and for whom I would take a bullet, is vulnerability. Of course, he had to deem me trustworthy enough before confiding in me and vice versa, but at some point one of us had to take a risk and expose a really intimate and sensitive part of who we are without the guarantee of acceptance. That risk, that telling moment where you expose yourself to hurt or rejection, that’s vulnerability.
Vulnerability is showing up to be seen when people may very well throw banana peels because they don’t like what they see.
The beauty is that at the same moment you’re exposed to the bad, you’re also open to the good; to authentic, unconditional, water-tight acceptance and affirmation. You’re open to the crowd singing along with you. In a word, you’re open to connection.
If vulnerability really is the foundation, then of course it’s at first shifty, messy, and needs patience. Given these though, soon enough it sets and firms up and you can be sure that any relationship built on it will last across time and space.
So, sitting in my little corner of Colchester, I pick up my phone and decide to ignore the well-meaning but misguided voices that say men don’t do mushy.
The two ticks tell me that 9000 Kilometers away, on a cold Johannesburg night, my friend Lesley will read a text in the next few seconds.
I miss you too my man. September is starting to look far.
You can find more from Zama at http://zama-m.blogspot.co.uk/