Vulnerability and band aids.

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.

first aid photo

 

 

 

Community Fences.

18 school lunches to go. That’s a total of six school days left to this school year for my kids. Do I hear an amen? 

It has been a great first year at our new school, in our new neck of the woods. I feel like we’re settling in, and putting down good, solid, strong roots. Roots that are comforting, healing and reviving. 

Our school community is full of amazing people.  People who dedicate masses of time, love and resources for ‘the greater good’. People who are self-less and shy away from any kind of spotlight, but they just get on with ‘doing the stuff’. 

We have several Mums in our school community at the moment who are dealing with cancer diagnoses, surgery, treatment and all that entails. One of the Mums doesn’t have any extended family here in NZ, so our community has rallied together and come up with just under $2K for this family. Now we are fortunate to have a public healthcare system, so that side of things is covered, but this money is to go towards things to practically help out the family in this tricky time; extra groceries, a cleaner, petrol money etc. 

I’m someone who has seen and been in ‘community’ before, and I’ve also been on the outside of ‘community’ looking in, and I know which side of the fence I prefer. So this whole wonderful side of life rallying together to help build up life, is really the awesome sauce. 

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Sometimes people get a little ticked off with me when I don’t say much.   I’m pretty sure I have less words to say than the average chick. But maybe writing makes up for that. 

But when I don’t say much, I’m usually thinking a lot. And observing a lot. And taking in a lot. So that when I do open my mouth to speak, if I don’t manage to put my foot in my mouth, then what I have to say is quite intentional.  Sometimes. Usually. Whatever. 

So, anyway. 

This evening my family and I were at a community event. I was fortunate enough to know a few people there so I sat with them. But as I sat at this event and when I wasn’t talking, but merely observing, I noticed some families on the fringes.

On the other side of the fence. On the other side of community.

Not many.

But some.

And ever since I came home I’ve been kicking myself for not reaching out to those families. For not including them. For not making space for them. 

You see community can be beautiful and warm, and embracing and kind, but it can also be selective and harsh, and unwelcoming to some all at the same time. 

It’s the weirdest thing.

Now before you fill the comments area in this post, or in the facebook share which I may or any not do, with kind and thoughtful words to make me feel better. Please don’t. I’m not writing this to share my faults, to gain sympathy. No. This is something I know I can ALWAYS be working on. As long as I have breath in me, I’d like to be reaching out to others and never settle for the status quo. 

And maybe you need to increase your awareness of others around you too. 

We are wired for connections. Always. In any situation. 

Let’s be people living ‘in community’ that is ever increasing, and ever making people feel valued and appreciated, whether you’re in the final countdown to the end of the school year or you have many school lunches still to pack…..people matter.   Fringe living is no fun. Living behind the fences is no fun.