February 6, 2011
It snowed heavily here this week. One night after the storm the sky cleared briefly; the ghostly moonlight made the snow-shaped bushes and trees into an eerie other-world landscape. As I looked out my bedroom window, a fox slipped silently along the fence, then disappeared into the bushes.
"How beautiful God's creation," I thought. Then I paused.
Fraulein Freud, V.F.F.[Very Fine Feline] who now lives and practices with me, had been quite cross when earlier in the evening I refused to open the outside door and permit her to go night hunting. Suppose I had given her freedom to go out and she had met that fox?
This week has been marked by events, all small and none dramatic, that have made me think about the vulnerability and fragility of most living things. And that has led to thinking about the complex relationship between choice and vulnerability. It's one aspect of that lion/lamb puzzle.
Can the lamb become less vulnerable? Is that change possible?
When talking about sheep, Jesus seemed to think that their vulnerability remained relatively constant. In his stories, the lambs's safety depended primarily on the shepherd, not on themselves. Still--that's not quite all the story. To feed in green pastures required lambs to go out of the sheep fold into a world where risk was real, trusting their relationship with the shepherd in that context of real danger and inherent vulnerability.
Perhaps for the lamb, the option for change does not lie in a given level of vulnerability, but in the resources with which the lamb meets the lions of life.
If I resist risk and the rich options that risk may bring because I cannot change my vulnerability, am I looking at my dilemma from the wrong angle? Is it possible to accept vulnerability and to risk change when I focus on the resources that are available? Is vulnerability the issue, or is the issue the context in which I live out that vulnerability?
What is the context in which you live your human vulnerability? What would happen if you altered that context?
Thinking with you about the rich resources in relationships, both with God and others, that do not change our vulnerability but do indeed change the liability and risk that our vulnerability brings.
See you next week.