One of the most beautiful theological terms that has ever graced my presence is the term kenosis. Kenosis appears in Philippians when it talks about how Jesus did not use equality with God for his advantage, but radically emptied himself, even on a cross. This is the demonstration of how people of God are supposed to relate with one another. They are called to the same humility and sacrifice. This self-emptying is within itself a radical form of vulnerability. The ability for me to open myself, and offer myself to another in humble love. Vulnerability is truly one of the hardest things to experience in this lifetime. Vulnerability requires great risk. The risk to be wounded and, sometimes even harder, the risk to be healed in love. The love that combats all of the lies that have told us that we are not enough. Once love has begun conquering these places of death, love awakens itself in a deep well of life.
This well of life often begins in the ability to confess our lives and stories with one another. Sharing our stories with one another brings the cold memories of what was into a warm reconciliation and deeper purpose for what could be. The friends and people that I feel most connected with have been a participants through listening to my deepest sense of failures and shameful moments of my life. Through the confession of these moments with those that I am connected with, those places of death abandoned me, but created the space for others to find life in the events of my life. The confessions of death lead us away from the agony of isolation, and into a deeper awareness of not only ourselves, but into that same agony of others. As we forgive and accept our own pain and failures, we welcome others into their own acceptance because their troubles don’t frighten us. We can begin to do as Jesus did, welcoming the least of these into our lives. When we move into this vulnerability, with ourselves and others, we find the wonderful reality of Jean Vanier’s words, “Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy; every child, every person, needs to be celebrated. Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed.”