1. The power of vulnerability
I was recently re-reading a beloved book of mine and came across a line that I remembered well. A mother is talking to her daughter who is crying and says, “Don’t cry. We don’t cry, we’re the Vikings, remember?” Every household and family system has its own view on crying. Maybe it’s encouraged, tolerated, discouraged, or in the case of my household, used as a form of manipulation. No matter your background on how you do or don’t connect with big emotions, Brene Brown is arguably the master of all things authentic, bold and vulnerable. She is often saying that in our vulnerability, we find our strength. If this is something that interests you, I highly recommend the book The Power of Vulnerability. In it, Brown reminds us that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but rather, a sign of courage.
2. Arm floaties
This summer at a friend’s gathering, I was introduced to comedian Taylor Tomlinson. I was told that she was, in a word, hilarious. When I watched her special on Netflix, I felt called out. She joked (poignantly) about her mental illness, her mother’s death, cancer and relationships in such a relatable way that had me both crying AND laughing. The clip that I play for myself when I’m feeling down is the one about “arm floaties” (a.k.a., medications for mental illness). While Tomlinson is atheist, I found myself thanking God for inspiring scientists to create medication for symptom control! Medications for mental illness have changed my life, and to hear someone else say it was affirming. The clip can be found here. Content note, there is an instance of coarse language. If you choose to watch the entire special (I found many parts enjoyable, but not all) please note that like many modern comedians, Tomlinson can be quite crass and I do not endorse all of her content.
3. Break time
Taking a brief break from some very heavy things to round up this Friday, I was delighted to find a copycat Starbucks recipe for Cranberry Bliss Bars. If you know, you know. These little bites of tart and sweet goodness are only available during the holidays. They’re also quite expensive. I can attest that this easy recipe can fool even the most discerning palate. Just note that the crust portion takes longer to bake than you think it does. Be vigilant!
I recently saw an article titled, “Is Jonah Hill Saving Men?” It was referring to the Netflix documentary Stutz, an homage to the psychiatrist Phil Stutz who has been treating actor Jonah Hill for the past five years. The story is a fascinating look into trauma, tools for coping, mental health for men, love and loss. It unofficially acknowledges that many men are not taught “emotional fluency,” but are able to access the language of emotions the same as anyone else if they open themselves vulnerably. This documentary looks at the power and authenticity of male vulnerability.
5. We’re all still here
What inspired this whole Five Things on vulnerability was a sermon by Nadia Boltz Weber, one of my favorite theologian pastors. I had saved a link to her sermon, “Do. Not. Cause. Yourself. Harm” that I recently read and listened to. She brings the story of the jailer watching over Paul and Silas to life by focusing on their response, “We’re all still here,” when the jailer draws his sword on himself intending to die by suicide. Every thought in this sermon is poignant and I urge everyone to listen to it, but I’ll tell you what I felt the Spirit speak to me through another’s words. Christianity matters because it has to. Christianity offers the world a different story, not one that’s based on “manifesting” hard enough and having the perfect body or perfect life and never making a mistake. Satan being referred to as “The Accuser” is real in this story, as they told the jailer lies about himself that brought him toward suicidality. We need others, at least one other person, to remind us of our actual story, which is the Jesus story.