Perfection & Vulnerability

Perfection & Vulnerability

Perfection & Vulnerability

A few weeks ago I had a dream and I kept hearing a name repeated over and over.  When I woke up, I thought the name might be important.  The name was Joan Chittister.  I knew I had heard her name once or twice before, but had no idea how or why.  I shared my dream and several friends spoke up and said I needed to know more… One sweet student brought her personal book “Scarred By Struggle, Transformed By Hope” to share with me.  This book has some unbelievable gems of wisdom.

It turns out that Joan Chittister is a Catholic Nun, but she is a thorn in the side of the Vatican.  She is outspoken, fearless and thinks outside the box.  As I learn more about her, I am amazed.  She is an advocate of women, the poor, the earth and all of humanity.  To me, she is a Yogi.  She  is an inspiration not only through her words, but also her actions.  I am so grateful for the dream that awakened me to her offerings.

When reading her book last night I came across a few powerful paragraphs I thought I would share with you.  I know they made my heart feel a bit lighter as I fell asleep.

… To go on going on, in the face of repeated failures, despite being clearly damaged, in full view of a world that sees us to have been wounded, is to discover what it really means to be human.  It is also the moment in which we are given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to become the rest of what we are able to be.

…To be less than perfect in a culture and an era that expects perfection rankles our sense of self.  It puts into jeopardy all the unassailability we work so hard to imply…

…We have compassion for the handicapped but we find it uncomfortable to deal with them– not because we don’t know what to do for them, but perhaps because they remind us of how fragile, how limited we all really are in one way or another.  They make naked all the weaknesses in ourselves that we most fear:  that we, too, cannot really stand on our own two feet; that we, too, cannot sometimes see what’s before our eyes; that we, too, cannot speak clearly enough what we wish we could say; that our souls, too, are twisted and confused and bowed down with the weight of living as their bodies.  

…We have put too much emphasis on the false perfection of fundamentally imperfect situations, we have overlooked those things in life that are really the ground of our truest strengths:  the possibility of conversion, the call to independent thinking, faith in the presence of God, the courage to persist, surrender to the meanings of the moment, and a sense of limits that lead us to take our proper place in the human race.

…The struggle to deny our vulnerabilities is the struggle to live a lie.  It’s not really difficult to determine how comfortable people are with their own limitations.  It can be measured by the way they treat the limitations of others.

Vulnerability is the call to self-acceptance.  It is the great liberating moment on the human journey.

Welcome vulnerability and imperfection. They just might be the greatest gifts from which we have spent years trying to hide.


Elizabeth Delaney