Our theme for the month of March is The Path of Vulnerability. This seems like something we have been working towards for the past several months, and is illustrated so eloquently by the tender, brave, determined rebirth of Springtime.
“In our culture, we have a tendency to mark tenderness as weakness, but when a single bloodroot bloom can rock us back on awe-struck heels, we begin to glimpse the power of such exposed intimacy. Tenderness is perhaps the most potent form of bravery. It is the ability to open oneself, despite (as Anais Nin says) the incredible risk to bloom. To open, despite the danger of unexpected frosts and herbivores, the weather whims of spring’s mood and the negligence of passing boots. It takes unbelievable courage to expose oneself in such vulnerability. To say yes— to blooming, to loving and to living once more. Would it not be so much easer to stay quietly in our roots? In spring, the sun draws closer to earth, almost as if to say how much she believes in us, and we respond with a sweeping show of blossoming trust and the gift of our own transformational vulnerability. We bloom— not knowing if this is the right moment, or how the whole story will unfold— and this is how and where and when true growth begins.”
Building trust requires vulnerability, and is one of the priorities identified by the UCV Board to focus on this year. Building trust requires us to be brave and tender, to listen and to share our own stories. The series we have been doing at UCV, Triumphs and Turmoils, looking back at past ministries through the lens of the historical archive has been illuminating and often disturbing. People are hearing facts and experiences of critical incidents that have shaped UCV that they hadn’t known, even if they were present during the time. We all carry our own stories and version of events through our own perspective, and if we don’t hear other perspectives, we are confined to a narrow version of the ”truth”. This review of history has been a powerful exercise, and is crucial for UCV to be able to move forward into its next settled ministry, fully aware of the many stories of the past, the good and the bad, in order to make informed decisions about the future and to heal lingering pain and grief. Sharing our own truth feels vulnerable, but in doing so, we build trust and provide room for healing of past wounds, our own and others. This is what our Covenant of Healthy Relations asks of us, to listen deeply with care, to speak directly and truthfully and to be open to learning and growing with one another. This, like the budding blooms of springtime, requires us to take risks, be vulnerable in order to build a beautiful, flourishing community. Building a new way.
Rev. Lara Cowtan