It is not easy writing a booklet on vulnerability – the stories I have been told trigger all sorts of thoughts in me:
Faced with our own vulnerability, we often experience extreme fear (McFadden 2008:133).
I have increasingly realised that early experiences in hospital as a young child which I don’t fully remember mean that I am overly fearful anytime I think I may be ill or something happens. My body is vulnerable. A tear in my retina this year brought that back to me – apparently I did nothing to bring it on – it happens to some of us with age – and not even old age!
What I have also increasingly realised is that my vulnerability is less of an issue if I share it with and allow myself to be supported by others (and God):
In contrast to fear, compassionate love – or agape – ‘links empathy, understanding and justice, promoting interdependence’ (Rumbold 2006:41).
McFadden, S. H. (2008). Mindfulness, vulnerability, and love: Spiritual lessons from frail elders, earnest young pilgrims, and middle aged rockers. Journal of Aging Studies, 22, pp.132-9.
Rumbold, B. (2006). The spirituality of compassion: A public health response to ageing and end of life care. In E. MacKInlay (Ed), Aging spirituality, and palliative care (pp.31-44) New York: Haworth Press.