It’s a hard thing to be human, to be vulnerable and accessible. I was reading an interview with Elon Musk in Rolling Stone Magazine. Musk is a man who is changing the face of the planet. He is building rockets that will go to Mars and changing the car industry at the same time.
Yet, when asked about his father, Musk said, “You have no idea about how bad [he was]. Almost every evil thing you could possibly think of, he has done. It’s so terrible, you can’t believe it.” Tears ran silently down his face as he shared this with the interviewer.
Musk struggles to connect with his human side. He says, “If I’m not in love, if I’m not with a long-term companion, I cannot be happy.”
Here is one of the most powerful and successful men in the world, yet like the rest of us, he feels weak at times.
Richard Rohr says, “Our culture of romance suggests that sex and marriage solve the problem of loneliness and longing. But from many people I’ve talked with, it seems there is a great deal of unhealthy sexuality, trauma, and wounding in our sexually preoccupied world. I believe sex, marriage, and celibacy are not given to us to solve the problem, but to actually reveal the problem. They show us that we still don’t know how to love.”
I resonate with that – it’s my loneliness and longing that show me I don’t know how to love. It’s the vulnerable things in my life that keep me human.
For example, there’s Shoshanna, our first granddaughter. She mostly sleeps and eats at present, but recently she has started to smile. She is a bundle of vulnerabilities that connects me to my own frailties.
And there’s Asha, our little morky dog. She may only be eight pounds, but in her mind, she’s the fierce protector of the homestead. When deer walk into our yard and we let her out, she goes racing after them. She keeps me in touch with my humanity. I feel like Asha as I pursue some big goal.
Your humanity is the best part of you. What keeps you human? What reminds you of your vulnerability? We need self-compassion. We need to be able to see ourselves in our place of weakness without shame.
Jesus didn’t protect himself. He lived exposed to the elements and to the critique of those who didn’t like him. He gave us the example of vulnerable living.
The best way to live a full life is to embrace your humanity. Take an inventory of those places where you feel vulnerable or ordinary. Are there relationships where you never seem to be able to please someone? Are there situations where you feel like you are perpetually failing?
Consider the possibility that those may be the things about you that are most precious to God. They may be in your life to connect you to your human side, the part of you that needs God most – the part that declares your need for him.
Being weak and showing your weakness to others signals to us that we don’t have to be insecure around you. That human part of you is actually the easiest part for the rest of us to love.