In our society, we are quick to embrace bravery. We laud everyday heroes, and praise those among us whom we view as "strong". We encourage small children to "be brave" when a doctor needs to tend to a wound or administer a vaccination. We coax others to conquer their fears through bravery. And somewhere in all of the hoopla we create around bravery and strength, we begin to imply that the opposite; vulnerability, is undesirable.
Vulnerability is softness to bravado's steel shell, but is it weak? We are vulnerable when we are sick, tired, fearful, or overwhelmed. We may feel vulnerable if we are smaller, weaker, or perceive ourselves as "less than" those who seem to have it all together. Vulnerability can feel powerless, and bravery may appear as a welcome mirage.
I've been romanced by that mirage more than once, trudging through feelings of weakness and inadequacy toward what appears shiny, fluid, and enticing. When I "get there", the ground is just as dry, and my thirst is greater. Bravery alone is simply an illusion of the ego. Faith finds us in our vulnerability and asks us to embrace our challenges. The chorus of Groban's song reminds us:"...You wanna run away, run away and you say that it can't be so. You wanna look away, look away but you stay cause it's all so close. When you stand up and hold out your hand in the face of what I don't understand, my reason to be brave". Faith asks us to sit with our vulnerability, and, when we're ready, to extend our hand to our higher power, and to those around us who are simply waiting for us to reach out. Our lives are ever shifting, and those offering a hand today may be reaching to ease another's burden tomorrow. Rilke states in the quote in the picture, "Love is standing guard over the solitude of another." I believe that love is in finding the balance between standing guard while others conjure their strength and knowing when to extend our hand for a lift. Love is in the balance between bravery and vulnerability, and faith is the bridge between the two.