Dear All,

Last Saturday in October.  The move into November always seems to me to be a real change – in October I am always thinking it may have a bit of late summer in it & this year it certainly has – but as we go into November such optimistic hopes don’t really have a place.  Change is often challenging & a sense of vulnerability seems to go with it.  The themes of today’s reflections are vulnerability & change.  I hope each of us will be able to translate one or other of them into the circumstances of our own lives.

Our blessing is the Irish Blessing from Sacred Weave – may it help us with any vulnerability we are feeling at the moment & give us courage to make any change we recognise we are being called to make.

May the road rise with you;

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

May the rain fall soft upon your fields.

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his

hand.

Hope the coming week with the feast of All Saints & also All Souls Day, will be a good one for you.

With our love & prayer

 

 

Willingness to Change

       

From the beginning then,

there are moments

when the word addressed to us

makes us abandon the world

of our own making,

and enter upon new life.

        Dialogue is not simply

a giving & receiving of information;

it does not change a person simply

by expanding their knowledge.

        Again & again

as we are in dialogue with others

we must hear the painful word

which overcomes us,

and draws forth a response in us,

that transforms life.

        The word addressed to us

at those moments

reveals to us the truth

of which we are afraid.

        It pierces the screen we have put up

between ourselves & reality.

        Then we must either flee from this word

and hide behind defences,

or open ourselves to it,

go through the painful passage

from our shallow understanding

to greater depth

and receive the truth

that has been spoken to us.

Conversion.

 

        Sometimes dialogue

is happy sharing

but in the course of life

those are those important

and frequent moments

when dialogue means conversion.

        Because we have listened,

because we were willing

to let go the little world

we had made for ourselves,

because we gained a new understanding of reality

we have become persons in a new way.

        Our response

to the word addressed to us

helps to make us who we are.

 

 

Dr. Kathy Coffey-Guenther on Vulnerability.

 

During the pandemic, like it or not, we were all thrown into a communal experience of living on the edge, a precipice between what is known and what is completely unfamiliar, leaving many of us feeling vulnerable, unsure, out of control and uncomfortable.

Post pandemic that vulnerability has not disappeared – uncertainty, bad events, be it war, cost of living rises, climate change all leave us with a sense of being vulnerable & of losing control.

 

This world today, and going forward, is unlike any we may recognize; the communal concerns and sufferings are real and on a larger scale than most of us have known in our generation.

 

I know that I have found consolation by leaning a lot on my spiritual anchors these days. Whether I am recalling family and friends who have weathered many storms who have shared their faith and wisdom with me over the years, or whether I am reading Scripture and recalling Jesus and his disciples as they made their hazardous journey through Jerusalem trials to Easter Sunday risings, I find myself drinking deeply from a well of hope and peace that helps to calm me.

I think of men and women I have known who have borne great hardships and oppressions through no fault of their own, who could have led a life filled with bitterness and ceaseless questioning of the “Why me?” variety but didn’t. Instead they chose to believe more deeply in good than evil, in serving more than taking, and in loving more than destroying. Their courage, strength and vulnerability has changed me forever.

 

I think of a wise friend who taught me that we are all small boats sailing in big seas. Sometimes the seas are calm, and sometimes the seas are stormy, but our place in the boat is our place, and we can respond to that place — and our feelings of vulnerability — as we choose. We are the only ones responsible for choosing how we will navigate the storms or appreciate the calm. That has helped me to locate myself in the reality of my life each day.

 

And finally, I recall significant times of deep vulnerability in my life: being diagnosed with cancer, my daughter’s life-threatening emergency surgery at college, the suffering of other dear family members, and I remember again and again how these vulnerable spaces helped me to make the time and space to lean deeply into these anchors of my faith, these truths of my foundation, and these invitations to let go and trust God’s movement in these days.

 

 

Vulnerability is strength. It doesn’t feel like it when we experience vulnerability, but it truly is strength. Vulnerability comes from a measure of security to be where you are, rather than to deny the emotional reality of what things mean to you.  Vulnerability fosters connection, because it reveals to you, on a deep emotional level, that you need other people in order to thrive in life. If you don’t accept this, you’ll try to lone ranger your way through life and that always ends badly. There are times going through these transitions that I feel very vulnerable. There are moments when it feels “weak.” But at the end of the day, being vulnerable helps me accept who I am and accept what is. When I do this, I accept and love others more readily. So, let yourself be vulnerable and be more at peace with who you are and where you are. Model appropriate vulnerability to your team, especially if you’re in a formal leadership position. This will set the tone for a culture of connection.