Friday, September 05, 2008

RevGals Friday Five: Vulnerability

This week’s Friday Five, courtesy of Sally, is about vulnerability. Most of my visitors are probably from RevGals and know about this already, but I ask any other blog friends stopping by to pray for Gannet Girl, whose 24-year-old son died Tuesday night.

1. Is vulnerability something that comes easily to you, or are you a private person?

I talk a lot and probably give the impression of being much more open than I am. But, yep, I keep lots of stuff to myself for various reasons.

2. How important is it to keep up a professional persona in work/ ministry?

Although we have a relatively relaxed atmosphere, it’s essential to me to keep a lot of myself to myself in order to fit in where I work.

3. Masks, a form of self protection discuss...

Absolutely necessary in some cases. I think it’s important to protect yourself from those who may wish to injure you. There are plenty of those out there, and I don’t think anything is gained by letting them romp around your psyche. I don’t necessarily think of masks as negative. Sometimes they help you discover more about yourself.

4. Who knows you warts and all?

Dear Husband, who has pretty much heard it all and knows my idiosyncrasies, doubts, darkness, less than stellar personal history and all.

5. Share a book, a prayer, a piece of music, a poem or a person that touches the deep place in your soul, and calls you to be who you are most authentically.

A lot of art touches me deeply, but I’m not sure I would say that it calls me to be more authentic. Art is tricky, using subterfuge, pretense and fantasy to deliver its truths. Actors wore masks in ancient Greece—art covers up and reveals. I’m not sure I even know what it means to be authentic. We are so many different characters exiting and entering our individual stages.

I keep coming back to my favorite book, Brideshead Revisited, which I think captures so well that longing and yearning for something greater than ourselves, which we try to sate in love affairs, friendships, art, action. The protagonist, Charles, is a painter who becomes very successful. Some describe his paintings as “dangerous”, but a friend who knew him before his fame isn’t fooled and tells him that his paintings are inauthentic: “charm playing tigers.” A charming person seeks to please, whether through beauty or wit or cleverness. They put people at ease. There is no challenge or recognition of terror, pain, or loneliness, all of which Charles has experienced. He has seen first-hand how “charm” wrecks friendships and families, but he had a hard time putting it aside. Like most of us, he has to be completely broken. But the story is about the workings of Grace, so he is redeemed at the end.Yep, I could probably bend your ear for awhile, so I'll stop.


  1. ohh sorry I forgot to include art in the what touches you question... thank you for posting!

  2. That #2 is kind of difficult, isn't it. I was once in a workplace like that.

    As for Brideshead Revisited--have never read it but keep hearing about it. Maybe a trip to the library is in order.

  3. I don’t necessarily think of masks as negative.

    that's interesting. I guess I was only thinking about marks among those who you should be able to trust or with whom you feel safe.

    Sometimes I think in our determination to be more authentic we reveal too much in inappropriate ways ... so it's all tricky.

    thanks for playing

    also thanks for your poltiical stand/comment/observation over at singing owls I really enjoyed reading that!!!