Vulnerability Hangover

I have observed of long and of late various faith-based publications posting utter rubbish about clergy, their misconduct, with some with weak watered down explanations and even more opaque and obtuse solutions. With much afoot to do then, as now, I felt compelled to share with anyone to whom it did concern, some evidence-based thoughts on the matter as a whole.

I am most comfortable behind the computer, not in front of a camera. It is not that I cannot, I can. It is that I usually choose not. I understand that an oddity in our digital age, in an age where pictures say a thousand words. On the whole, I’d rather say the words. In an age where worth is equated to clicks, I am, overall, well content to be an oddity.

The expediency of video communication overwhelmed my natural caution. I had something I needed to say to counter the current of crap I had seen running steady on my screen, and I also didn’t have half the day to communicate it. I did well enough in the beginning of the video, I think. I shared with you the words of the late Richard Sipe, whom I had a brief but meaningful discourse with before his passing. It was when I got to these words that an unexpected eruption of emotion was extemporaneously extruded and slipped out of my lips:


Sweet sister survivor, beautiful brave brother – say those words in the mirror. Say it again, and listen to yourself. See if you too can get in touch with your “e-motion-s” on what happened to you, to your spouse, to your child, to your kin.

Now, I’m not much of a drinker, I like to have lots of self-control within easy reach. After that raw discourse yesterday, I have a vulnerability hangover. I am sure someone coined that term, probably Brene Brown. Today, I drank lots of living water in an effort to rinse away the residue. I have my own history as to why expression of raw emotion feels so vulnerable to me.

It is not that I feel guilty, but it is more of a vulnerability that comes with exposure of my emotion, of my passionate personhood. For the always free, such expression is fluid, for the always bound, that expression is carefully kept like a great foaming secret, in agreement with the impervious idea that one does not feel – for one cannot afford to do so.

There are many, who in their family of origins, and long after they were flung out of them, the height of humiliation arrived when emotion seeped out of the crevices of coping to cold eyes of the callous.

The only time I remember speaking up with passion as a girl was when my father took away the wheelchair from a crippled man who was a dependent in our home. He literally made him crawl to the table for his dinner. Never before had I experienced such overwhelming outrage on behalf of another so clearly helpless.

It was with a mix of indignation and audible outrage that I spat words at my father to give him back his wheelchair, the poor mans only modality of movement, his only source of ease and freedom. I was so angry I was weeping, shaking, and talking in a confluence of emotion that erupted despite all my self-restraint and better judgment. Do you know what he did?

He laughed at me. I will never forget his laugh. Never.

To erupt in emotion despite all efforts not to; to speak on behalf of those rendered speechless; and to be laughed at like a fool, by a fool, constricts my very breath. To erupt in emotion, despite all efforts not to; to speak on behalf of those rendered speechless; to be held in higher regard on both accounts, helps me breathe a little easier.

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