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In the aftermath of this most recent experience of terror in Orlando, it is hard to find “useful” thoughts to share. Still,  I think it might be important to remember that, when words fail to hold larger-than-life-losses, we have entered the realm of ‘trauma’ and that we can be traumatized by losses well beyond those immediately-our-own. Trauma, a word used generally as well as psychologically,  suggests that a loss, so great as to be ‘unprocessable’, must find it’s way into consciousness through other routes. Terror traumatizes all of us because it reveals a most basic way in which every being on the planet is vulnerable to losing things that cannot be fully anticipated. We cannot control or protect against many losses no matter how hard we try! When terror confronts us, (close in or at a distance) we feel traumatized, at least in part, because it shines a light on one fundamental way in which we are all deeply connected to one another by the very experience of our human vulnerability. No one imagines that THEY will be dancing in a Night Club and, without a moments notice, have to find cover in a bathroom stall, playing dead in the effort to avert their own death…yet, every traumatic loss tells a story just like that. Few of us give much thought to the fact that the lives we are living can be lost in a moment (let alone how, under what circumstances and what that loss could require of us).  Despite this, we are forever vulnerable to the fact that, one day, exactly that could happen. It is a very difficult to absorb, or believe, dimension of our shared human condition.  Perhaps, to live in the assumed-everyday-world most of us have to suspend, as best we can, an awareness of our vulnerability just to keep moving forward. Despite this, when traumatic things happen to us, or those around us, our ability to remain “unaware” of our vulnerability is shaken and our shared connection, through the myriad of  life’s inevitable losses is highlighted. Sometimes, if we can share these awful moments and use them to the  recognize deep truths of our shared humanity,  we can grow, even through things that are deforming.

 4 Responses 

  1. Thank you for putting into words the emptiness, anxiety, timidity…..that I have been feeling. Vulnerable. Yes. Connected. Yes.

  2. Have you heard of Brene Brown? She has studied and talks a lot about vulnerability.

    • Eileen Vandergrift

      Yes, I have. She’s a very solid thinker , especially on the issue value of vulnerability.
      Thanks for suggesting her as a resource for our
      If you are unfamiliar with Brene Brown, I’d suggest listening to her 2010 Ted Talk as a good introduction…Also, there’s plenty that she has written if her perspective and/or her presence
      feels promising to you.

  3. Such a sweet reminder of our human connection and the power of love that is held within each of us. Kindness is a key in a world riddled with need. Thank you for posting the poem, a beautiful reminder to participate in lifes community of goodness.

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