Saturday, March 21, 2020

Vulnerability

I’m at a loss for words. The world is vulnerable.

With the present escalating crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, vulnerability evokes painful feelings. Both for the sick or dying and the well. 

One time, a 50-year-old wife described to me how she soothed her husband who went through a brain surgery. Her husband would wake up and cry in fear during the nights prior to surgery.

“It’s going to be ok, honey. I’m here,” she’d repeatedly  reassure her husband days before and during the approaching moments of his operation. 

Her “comforting words” to his vulnerability and weakness helped him through the very depths of disease and helplessness.


During these times of disease vulnerability, how I wish we can also mean those words especially to those who got sick. 

Fact is, mostly, people tend to avoid or abhor those stricken by the virus. 

Still, I believe that deep within we mean those comforting words to each other. We just do not understand them. But we mean them. Perhaps when the pandemic is over, we’d find out what we mean.

In “Life Against Death,” author Norman Brown observes, 

“What the child knows consciously, and the adult unconsciously, is that we are nothing but body ... Life is of the body and only life creates values; all values are bodily values.”

In moments of vulnerability, we do tend to return to the basic truths of life and who we really are.

“When our primitive needs move to the forefront of daily life, we are thrust back into dimensions of ourselves that may have been out of reach for years,” as writer Wendy Lustbader put it insightfully.

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