The Beauty of Weakness

 

I’ve been having pretty rough run lately. Recently I wrote an email to a friend, filling her in on all the happenings in my life and home and it read like something from “A Series of Unfortunate Events”! At the moment I am kind of bracing myself thinking, “What’s next?”

I have the unfortunate disposition that when I experience enough stress for a prolonged period of time, eventually the cracks start to show and I become physically ill. I hate that! I feel like a basket case. I struggle with debilitating dizziness, physical weakness and levels of brain fog that leave me not knowing what the hell I am doing a lot of the time. To know that your physical condition is psychologically induced is hard to come to terms with. I wish I were more resilient – made of tougher stuff.

I stood in front of the mirror last week. I stared at my reflection and all I could see was weakness. And I despised that weakness.

Why do we hate weakness so much?

I don’t hate the weakness in my friends. In fact I love my friends all the more for their weaknesses. Those little chinks in their armour make them human. They make them someone I can relate to. I don’t know about you but I don’t relate terribly well to squeaky-clean people who appear to have it completely together.

For a person to allow you to see their flaws and weaknesses is a great privilege. It is a sign of depth of friendship because of the trust that comes with it. A weakness in a friend also gives you the unique and special privilege of offering them support. And in doing so, the bonds of friendship and love become even deeper. When I look at the people I love, their weaknesses are a blessing, not a curse. They are a gift.

There is a Japanese tradition called “kintsugi”, where, rather than throw away broken or cracked pieces of pottery, they are repaired with a resin and gold powder, or substance made to look like solid gold. It is born of a philosophy that the cracks and breakages are a part of story of the piece, not a reason to throw it away. Once repaired, the piece often looks more beautiful than it did before it was cracked or broken!

So why do we hate weakness? Why does our culture despise weakness? Why do we despise cracks and flaws? Why do I look in the mirror and despise my own weakness? My weaknesses are a part of my story. Yours are a part of your own story. If I can see the gold in the weakness of others, perhaps it is time to start looking in the mirror and seeing the gold in mine.

 

Kintsugi

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Sometimes Tears Say it Best

This time last year we were grieving – my friends, my colleagues, my church.  My friend had fallen pregnant with a little girl.  There were problems from the start and my friend and her husband were warned their little girl probably wouldn’t survive outside the womb.  She didn’t.

What words can you find to comfort a friend in such times?  There aren’t any.  There are only tears – tears that say, “I ache with you my dear, dear friends.”

Today there are more tears.  Three days ago, that same friend has given birth to a beautiful, perfect little baby boy.  Today I went to visit at the hospital and had my first cuddles of what most of us are claiming to be OUR new baby!  Shared sorrow and joy has made family of colleagues and friends.  I cradled that perfect little life in my arms today and joy, gratitude, relief, pride and love swept over me, the tears came.  There were no words that could come close to expressing the magnitude of any of those things……only tears…..lots and lots of tears.

I don’t particularly like to cry.  I avoid it whenever possible.  I think many of us are often afraid to cry – to lose control of our emotions – to have the dam burst in front of people we might not know so well.  Today people I have only met once before, wanted photographs of the tears.  Today, tears spoke volumes and said what words could not.

I think today I learned something new.  I learned not to be afraid of the tears, because some times simple quiet tears just say it best.

“…weeping may endure for a night, bug joy cometh in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5 KJV Bible)