There’s a reason that first aid kits in commercial kitchens usually stock band aids in gaudy bright, fluorescent colours. You actually want a chef/ cook/ kitchen hand to notice when their manky old band aid has come off, cos you don’t want that in your meal. No ma’am. No sir.
Band aids. Bandages. They serve a purpose, for a time, but sooner or later those puppies need to come off your body and be disposed of properly.
I’ve been thinking about ‘vulnerability’ lately and have been thinking that vulnerability is a little like a band aid that needs a little bit of help to be ripped off, before it falls off.
When you have a wound, a little or a big ‘owie’, there’s a need for it to be covered up for a little bit. You need to keep the wound clean, and clear from infection. You also need to to protect it a little from further bashes and bumps. You don’t want any more blood loss. (And by the way, look after yourself dear ones when you do have a band aid on. One of the stooopidest things I’ve done in one of my jobs was go to work straight after getting a blood test done. You don’t ever want to cut up twenty kgs of carrots after having some blood suckered out of your arm. Nope. No you don’t.) Back to the band aid. That band aid isn’t designed to stay on forever. It is only a temporary stopgap. At some stage your wound will also benefit from a little fresh air – this too has healing powers. And we all know how gross it is to see band aids that have come off when people haven’t expected that – there’s something really repulsive about seeing them not disposed of properly.
I’m learning that vulnerability is a little like a band aid that needs you to take it off. We need to open up to each other. We need the healing power that comes in the salve of one another’s kindness and caring – but that is only possible to apply properly, when we open up to one another. When we expose our wounds to one another. When we peel back our band aids. Then we can bear one another’s burdens.
The band ‘Rend Collective’ recently wrote ‘it is in the rawest, most gaping, and angry scars that authentic faith is often found’. Scars expose testimonies – testimonies shout of God’s grace. God’s favour. God’s loving kindness. God’s ability to scoop us up and out of whatever messy situations we’re in. God’s restorative power. God’s healing strength.
One of my darling boys scratched his face with a long fingernail when he was merely hours old. That precious, soft and smooth skin on his face was scarred. He’ll always have that little reminder on his cheek. My own body has scars of battles with hot fudge (I seriously lost), and a stomach stretched to its limits by whopping big babies. But its not the scars on our bodies that need the most healing – its the ones in our very souls.
It is a hard thing opening up to friends. There’s trust that must be mustered up. There’s swallowing of pride. There are doubts and uncertainties that raise their ugly heads. Sometimes confidences are betrayed, that’s just a reality of life. But you know what? The pay off that comes with sharing your heart anyway, is worth it. The healing that comes when you do become vulnerable yourself, is worth it. The reciprocity that happens when you need a friend, and when the friend needs to be needed – creates levels of shared experience that can’t be faked and can’t be created under any other circumstances, other than this shared vulnerability.
C.S Lewis said ‘We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves’. It has taken me a while to learn this, but I totally agree with him. We don’t know what we don’t know…..friends can help us with this…..we need others more than we may think.
I don’t want to leave a nasty trail band aids lying around all over the place – peeled off at the very worst of times, in the very worst of places, so I’m learning to make myself vulnerable. And to rip off those band aids when I can. To open up. To share my heart. To let the soothing words of others heal my little nicks and scratches. I’m pretty sure it is worth it.