“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
–Dr. Brene Brown (of course)
I included this quote into a letter I sent to one of our “sons” who is serving year 15 of a 30-year sentence. He is still serving time in a supermax prison (google everything scary about prisons and you’ll see what a supermax is). The reasons why he is still there have a lot to do with how badly we need prison reform but that is another blog topic I doubt I will get into.
I gave him this quote in response to a question he asked me. He has been given a job (rare, again we need prison reform) in the kitchen but asked me this question: “I just got hired to work in the kitchen. Here is some hope for you. I hope no old beef come to haunt me and someone tries to throw hot oatmeal or grease on me. I don’t care about knives but I do care about that hot stuff. How do you defend yourself from hot grease or oatmeal or grits. You can’t. I told you my mind is in a negative place.”
My response back was about vulnerability. Being in the kitchen and worried about hot grits was making him feel vulnerable. With some trepidation I talked to him about vulnerability knowing full well that I nor Dr. Brene Brown live in a supermax prison facility. Can this truth be the same for him? We don’t live in the fearful place where “the worst of the criminals” (quote from the Virginia Department of Corrections website) are housed together.
His response back to me: “You’re right, the fear of hot grits won’t stop me. I have never let fear cripple me, ever. I am going to take it bravely. …You know the risks are what make life exciting. Don’t want to be all boring and safe.”
If my Kenneth can live vulnerably, why are you not able to?
Side note: Please add Kenneth to your prayer lists. Prayer is about all he has in this corrupt system. He is overdue for a transfer to a “correctional facility” (different than prison) and we need supernatural influence to get this to happen.