Daily Riches (CV era): Our Same Fears and Sorrows (Ernest Kurtz, Katherine Ketcham, Jay Feld, and James Baldwin)

“A major hindrance to the experience of community is our difficulty in talking about our pain. We feel afraid; we feel ashamed; we want to maintain a certain image of ourselves, first for ourselves and then for public consumption. It is perfectly understandable–and yet it keeps us isolated and lonely.” Jay Feld

“Human beings connect with each other most healingly, most healthily, not on the basis of common strengths, but in the very reality of their shared weaknesses. . . .  Shared weakness: the shared honesty of mutual vulnerability openly acknowledged. That’s where we connect. At the most fundamental level of our very human-ness, it is our weakness that makes us alike; it is our strengths that make us different. Acknowledging shared weakness thus creates a rooted connectedness, a sense of common beginnings. . . . Spirituality begins with this first insight: We are all imperfect. Such a vision not only invites but requires Tolerance: active appreciation of the richness and variety of human beings on this earth, along with the understanding that we all struggle with the same demons, we all share the same fears and sorrows, we all do the best we can with what we have.” Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, and then you read.” James Baldwin

“I have cried until the tears no longer come;
 my heart is broken.”
Lamentations 2:11 NLT

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you really tried, could you find a safe relationship to talk about your pain?
  • Do you think your pain is “unprecedented?” . . . that no-one would understand? . . . that your experience is unique?
  • Most of us want two things: to really connect with someone (which requires vulnerability), and to be admired (which requires image management and being guarded). Which instinct wins out in your experience?
  • Shared strength builds walls. Shared weakness builds bridges. Are you building walls or bridges?

Abba, give me the courage to reach out to others in all that I am as a fellow human being: succeeding and failing, admirable and disappointing, believing and fearful.

For More: The Spirituality of Imperfection, by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham









3 thoughts on “Daily Riches (CV era): Our Same Fears and Sorrows (Ernest Kurtz, Katherine Ketcham, Jay Feld, and James Baldwin)

  1. I have not been reading these Richer by Far posts for a couple of years now. After some years in agony, I have had a few years of life being kinder to me, and I have basked in the joy of it, not least through the gift of being able to sleep through the darkest hours of the night rather than being awake and in the throes of anxiety.

    It is humbling therefore, when that 3am anxiety jolts you awake and everything in you again screams with fear and self-resentment and a deep deep sense of loneliness, to revisit the wisdom of this incredible resource, and to find that the first unopened post in your inbox is this one, which hits at the very heart of matters. It is strange how that very coincidence immediately makes me feel a little less alone.

    My mother used to say often that, when life becomes good to us, we become bad. Perhaps that is what I struggle with, having been too busy with life and work, always work and the pressure to perform, to be sufficiently humble and kind. And perhaps, a perceived sense by others that I’m fine and dandy and on top of things makes them feel alienated. Who would want to share their vulnerabilities with somebody who seems outwardly self-sufficient and like they don’t have any? And who would want to listen to the fears and insecurities of somebody who ‘has it all’ anyway? – they would find you ungrateful and self-absorbed. Like you are making up problems where there clearly are none.


    • Hi Christine. Wow, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’m glad to be back, and happy to have you reading. I won’t be posting as often as before, but I do want to resume my attempts to make a small difference. I’m very happy that you’re reading, and I hope that periodically God will use what I write to be useful to you. I just write what I need to hear, and assume that maybe others will be helped too. God bless, and stay safe! Bill


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