Posted in Emotional Health, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Vulnerability is Difficult to Watch

Sorry for the break in the flow of the posts.  I’ve been out-of-town over the past twelve days…some good times and some hard times.  My first trip out of town was to support my family as my brother went for surgery.  His doctor found nodules on his thyroid and it was too big to simply extract the node so the doctor felt the best way to biopsy the node was to remove the thyroid.

The surgery was being done in the hospital’s surgery center with the hopes that he would only be in for 23 hours.  Following the check-in my sister-in-law, my mother and I headed for the waiting room.  When the doctor returned from surgery he sounded optimistic from what he could visually see in the operating room but we’d know more after pathology got it’s shot at it.

We went up to my brother’s room, waiting for him to arrive from the recovery room.  Just as he was transferring from the guerney to the bed my father walked in to the room.  My dad isn’t a good patient, he doesn’t like hospitals and tubes, monitors and white coats are not his friend.  He took one look at my brother with the IV and the monitors and had to leave the room.

I followed my dad out to the waiting room where he was sitting, but not just sitting, he was holding it together the best he could.  I sat beside him and he started to cry.  Now it was my turn to tell him that everything would be okay.  We expect children to be vulnerable.  We put on band-aids and well wishes and magically the child is laughing again.  Vulnerability in adults is very different.  I think after seeing so much pain in the world and recognizing the pain in our own lives, the vulnerability sweeps over us like a Tsunami, catching us off guard.

That’s the interesting thing about vulnerability, we can’t prepare for it.  We don’t have solutions on how to cope with the vulnerability and in the end we feel like we’re at the mercy of an emotion that shatters our assumptions about safety and health.

The key to overcoming the pain associated with vulnerability is to be in it.  You can’t get out of something if you haven’t been in it.  Don’t dance around the mouth of the volcano, jump in!  Experience the rawness that comes with vulnerability and embrace, it’s a message and understanding and accepting our vulnerability is what makes us stronger.  We overcome adversity and then we develop a deeper understanding of our own soul stamina.