It’s Okay to be Vulnerable


It is natural for us as human beings to want to feel that we are in control of our own destinies.  We like to plan for the future, set goals and try to achieve them.  Additionally, we may also put up a front to hide our disappointments, pain and embarrassment when those plans do not come to fruition.
No matter how much we think we are in control, the truth is there is so much that is outside of our power.  Natural disasters can affect us.  Economic trends can touch us and our families.  A diagnosis can throw our plans into a tailspin.  We also know that we cannot change other people or control their behavior.  The only person that we can change is ourselves…and we know how difficult that can be.
The holiday of Sukkot in the middle of which we find ourselves is all about vulnerability.  From an historical standpoint, we celebrate the time in the wilderness when we wandered for forty years; we were totally dependent on God’s providence to survive.  We celebrate the harvest time; until it happens, we never know whether it will be a year of bounty or a year of scarcity.  The sukkah (the temporary hut we build at our homes for the week) is open on top so that rain and wind can get in; we cannot control the weather.
Vulnerability is often seen as a negative, but it also has a positive side.  When we are vulnerable we often reach out to others and open ourselves up.  When we lower that mask of infallibility, we connect with others.  Vulnerability teaches us to be humble–not to abase ourselves, but rather to understand our true place in God’s world.
The Yiddish expression is “Man plans and God laughs.”  I don’t know if God laughs, but we know our plans are often sidetracked.  When they are, it is an opportunity for us to regroup, refocus and recommit…and to seek comfort and support in those around us.

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