Theodore Roosevelt made a speech sometimes referred to as “The Man in the Arena” at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910 which I think merits remembrance.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points our how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deed could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….”
This speaks to me of the ability to have an understanding that it becomes necessary in opening our souls in a vulnerability to engage ourselves in our pursuits in life.
Through investing and engaging in our endeavors, we will undoubtedly experience both the failures and successes and hopefully realize this is part of life. It is a necessary ingredient that persons fail before they attain a level of success in their lives; business, career, relationships, volunteering, spiritual roles, maturity, etc.
As human beings it becomes necessary to integrate all our experiences, both the negative and positive ones, along with emotional states. It is in fully accepting and in the allowing ourselves space to hold all these moments within in order to process these events into growth related times.
Hopefully as adults, (although many fail to realize this at any level) we come to a place that teaches us, in order to move through life in accomplishing goals, participating in endeavors, and building healthy relationships with others, we learn from these times, using what has not worked or been affective in this sifting process, of what or who, we allow to remain in our lives and what, or who becomes necessary in learning how to let go of, that helps us in maturing into wise persons.
Brene Brown – a LMSW stated: “Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be – a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation – with courage and the willingness to engage.
Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.”
There are persons who will deny any wrongs they have made, excuse or justify ill behavior or defend inappropriate happenings or offenses done, of either themselves, or those they are in leadership over, in attempts with keeping to a belief system that they are above error and that they have some sort of a ‘knowing’ that how they behave and respond to others is always right, in light of any other evidence that may exist to the contrary from issues others in their midst try to raise in having addressed.
Whether we have a spirituality to our life or not, the only way to grow in maturing as healthy adults, is in learning from our experiences as a whole, integrating all sides, negative and positive, into our beings, and seeking to have right relationships in respectfully relating to others in valuing, honoring, and giving dignity to our conversations.
Vulnerability is closely tied to humility in the realizing we all share in our humanity and there is no one who has arrived in any state of perfection while walking this earth.
As a woman of Faith, my desire to remain open before God and before others as an approachable person is who I want to be, in valuing the sanctity of space with others, where I desire to create a safe place where they can just come as they are, making confidences known, that I hold others conversations with the highest of integrity, in offering a listening environment, where I remain open to the Spirit’s guidance, respecting and giving honor to their voice.
Creating places where others feel safe is vital to our wellbeing and in the bonds we make with others, in allowing them a place, to come to us and let us know of any wrongs or offenses we have made, (or those we have some supervisory or leadership charge over has made) giving us opportunity to address hurt, suffering, or pain that has resulted as a consequence, that in our responses, we will hopefully help towards healing wounds.
There can be no healing of wounds, no bonds of friendship when we are not willing to be both accessible and approachable before others as this lack will not build pathways for peace, but will build walls and obstacles in living on this earth as God’s children, walking in an honesty and sincerity, having pure motivations with one another.
All this to say, vulnerability is a strength within a person in being an open heart, in being a real and authentic human being.
When we are able to walk as authentic human beings, God opens our lives in incredible ways, ushering us into a world where meaningful connections and relationships become what is of value and what is of worth in this life.
The remnants of our lives that remains when our bodies are gone, are the impressions and value we have instilled in other persons, in having made a difference to have been known and to have loved.
Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister