On Vulnerability

Life in Quarantine, Step 2: Acknowledge Your Vulnerability

If it has been hard, before now, to accept the reality of a pandemic, the words spoken on Ash Wednesday have been made clear: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”


COVID-19 exposes a human truth that we spend much of our lives trying to avoid: we are vulnerable.

But our vulnerability is not a curse. It’s an invitation. Through it, we can move into a deeper awareness of the presence of God, which emerges, all the more clearly, in our radical simplicity.

There is something holy about fragility looking us in the eye and asking us if we care enough to slow down, look beyond ourselves, and allow a fertile space of connectedness to bear fruit in our relatedness. As theologian Donald Dunson writes:


From the very first moment that the hands of another human being lift us from the womb, we must rely on others to feed us, protect us, teach us, and love us into life. This is our fate. This is what it means to be human. . . . Our mutual need is both human and holy.


The realm of collaborative possibility opens up as we recognize our limitations and reach toward God and toward one another, to meet our needs, to solve our mutual problems, and to envision better ways of living together on this fragile, fragile earth.

As a second step in these times, allow yourself to take in the depth of this crisis and honestly acknowledge your need for help, for guidance, for wisdom, for strength. Ask God for what you need. Now is not the time to hem or haw. It is the time to look into the night and ask for exactly what you need. And if you do not know, simply ask that God, in God’s grace and infinite wisdom, will give you what you need, step by step, day by day.

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